Bengaluru, January 27: Two late goals helped India maintain their clean slate in the second leg of the Four Nations Invitational Hockey Tournament in New Zealand with a 4-2 win against Japan.
Vivek Sagar Prasad (12th minute), Varun Kumar (30th), Mandeep Singh (58th) and Ramandeep Singh (58th) scored for the winners while Japan reduced the deficit through Seren Tanaka (14th) and Shota Yamada (43th).
FT' Indian Men's Hockey Team goes unbeaten in the pool stage of second leg of the Four Nations Invitational Tournament. The players pull up a magnificent performance to hand Japan a defeat on 27th January 2018.#IndiaKaGame pic.twitter.com/2Hxut6VadQ— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) January 27, 2018
This is the third win on the trot for the Sjoed Marijne-coached squad in the tournament following victories against New Zealand (3-2) and Belgium (5-4).
India top the pool after three wins in the second leg of the Four Nations Invitational Tournament in New Zealand. Here is how the teams stand on 27th January 2018.#IndiaKaGame pic.twitter.com/kqNuGzweMJ— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) January 27, 2018
India will now take on Belgium in the final on Sunday (January 28) after the latter beat New Zealand 4-0 in the other match of the day.
Check out the results for the two high-voltage international matches that unfolded on day three in the second leg of the Four Nations Invitational Tournament on 27th January. #IndiaKaGame pic.twitter.com/cH0ccI6Tz6— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) January 27, 2018
At the Gallagher Hockey Stadium in Hamilton, India drew first blood when Harjeet Singh dribbled through the midfield to find forward Arman Qureshi who then beautifully assisted Vivek who made a diving effort to find the net.
India were slightly dodgy after scoring as they gave up possession and were punished when Japan broke into a quick counter, paving way through the left flank. It was Seren who drove into the Indian circle, beating the defenders to strike the ball into India's goal levelling the score 1-1 before going into the first break.
While India built on their game in the second quarter, Japan kept fighting back trying to defend with all their might. But an error while defending forced them to concede a penalty corner when Varun Kumar's strong pass sliced through the Japanese circle as forward Lalit Upadhyay forced a foot foul.
Though the variation did not fetch a goal, India won another penalty corner after forcing another foul in Japanese circle. It was Varun who stepped up for the drag flick this time and executed it brilliantly to take 2-1 lead.
Japan made the most of their second penalty corner when Shota used a smart variation to keep Indian goal keeper Krishan Pathak off-guard and scored an equalizer in the 43rd minute.
For India, Harjeet Singh created another great opportunity to score when he picked up a quick pass by skipper Manpreet Singh to turn around, beat the Japanese defender on top of the circle to strike towards the post and it was Mandeep who deflected in an improvised fashion to make it 3-2 in the 58th minute.
India made a good finish with Ramandeep scoring the fourth goal which was beautifully worked out from the top of the circle.
(Source: Hockey India)
Four Nations Invitation Tournament Final
India vs Belgium
at 8.30 am IST (Sunday, January 28)
Live on Facebook (www.facebook.com/nzblacksticks)