New Delhi: The Indian men’s hockey team defeated Japan 1-0 in the third place play-off match at the Asia Cup in Jakarta to win the bronze medal on Wednesday. India scored a field goal through Raj Kumar Pal as early as in the seventh minute of the game.
The Indian team had missed out on a place in the finals due to goal difference following a 4-4 draw with South Korea on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the defending champions India came out with purpose and produced a spirited performance to win the match.
India started brightly and pushed hard in the first five minutes of the match. In the seventh minute, a brisk counter-attack from Uttam Singh on the right flank set it up for Rajkumar Pal to score the goal, who neatly pushed it past the Japanese goalkeeper Takashi Yoshikawa. However, India’s attacks fizzled out in the later part of the match.
The Japanese team came hard in the last five minutes of the first quarter in search of the equaliser but the Indian defence stood firm and held on to their lead. In the 20th minute, Japan earned two consecutive penalty corners but failed to net a goal.
After the change of ends, Japan made a fresh bid to score a goal and despite securing two more penalty corners in quick succession, they failed to go past the resolute Indian defence. The Japanese put relentless pressure on Indian defenders in the final two quarters but the Birendra Lakra-led side stood firm and clinched victory.
Former hockey player Dilip Tirkey congratulated the Indian team for their impressive performance at the event. “May they continue to bring glory for the country with their brilliant performances,” Tirkey posted on Koo.