The Indian junior men’s hockey team came from behind to clinch a 3-1 win against Japan in their second Pool A game at the Men’s Junior Asia Cup 2023 in Salalah, Oman on Thursday. Araijeet Singh Hundal (36’), Sharda Nand Tiwari (39’) and Uttam Singh (56’) scored one goal each for the Indian Junior Men’s Hockey Team while Kumpei Yasuda (19’) found the back of the net for Japan. This was India’s second win in as many games at the Men’s Junior Asia Cup 2023 so far.
The Indian junior men’s hockey team were on the attack from the get-go and were keen on landing the first blow against Japan. However, Japan held on in the early exchanges, keeping the Indian attackers at bay. Nonetheless, soon after the midway mark, the Indian Colts started to create more chances with Sudeep Chirmako making the opposition goalie work. Japan almost opened the scoring late in the quarter at the other end, but India stood firm, with the teams going into the break locked at 0-0.
Early in the next phase, it was Japan who broke the deadlock, against the run of play, as Kumpei Yasuda (19’) slotted it past the goalkeeper through the left. Understandably keen to get an equaliser, the Indian Junior Men’s Hockey Team upped their ante, running more at the Japanese defenders, and putting them under pressure. However, the Japanese always found a way to keep their opponents out, with the goalkeeper doing well to keep Uttam Singh-led India from turning the game around. At the half-time break, Japan led 1-0.
After the interval, it was Japan who started out the better team, keeping India in their own half for quite a bit. However, India rallied back, scoring the equaliser soon after as Araijeet Singh Hundal (36’) rifled it home from the left. With their tails up, India went on the offensive, and won a series of penalty corners, the last of which helped them storm into the lead as Sharda Nand Tiwari (39’) powered it into the top corner. With one quarter to go, India led 2-1.
In the final quarter, the India started out on the front foot, eager to add to their advantage. Eleven minutes in, India won a penalty corner, and Captain Uttam Singh (56’) scored to give his side a two-goal cushion. Japan looked to counterpunch quickly, however, India’s defenders literally put their bodies on the line, and eventually saw out the contest with a 3-1 scoreline.
The Indian Men’s Hockey Team will play Pakistan on May 27 before taking on Thailand in their last pool game on May 28.