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Asia cup: India take home bronze with win over Japan


Jakarta, June 1

India produced a spirited performance to beat Japan 1-0 and clinch the bronze medal at the Asia Cup hockey tournament here today.

After missing out on a place in the title clash on goal difference following an exciting 4-4 draw with South Korea on Tuesday, the defending champions came out with purpose and scored a field goal through Rajkumar Pal in the seventh minute and then defended in numbers to seal the deal.

South Korea clinched a record fifth title by beating Malaysia 2-1 in the summit clash. Manjae Jung (17th minute) and Taeil Hwang (52nd) scored two field goals for the Koreans. Malaysia’s lone goal was scored by Syed Cholan (25th).

Electric start

Earlier, India started brightly and pushed hard in the first five minutes of the match in a bid to get their noses in front early on.

After being thwarted for some time, the Indians managed to break the deadlock in the seventh minute from a brisk counterattack. Uttam Singh’s hard work on the right flank allowed him to set it up for Pal, who neatly pushed the ball past the Japanese goalkeeper Takashi Yoshikawa.

Three minutes later, India secured two back-to-back penalty corners but squandered both.

The fag end of the first quarter saw Japan pressing hard in search of an equaliser but the Indian defence stood firm.

Both the teams created numerous chances in the second quarter but failed to convert them.

After the change of ends, Japan secured two penalty corners in quick succession but failed to go past a resolute India.

In between, India had a golden chance to extend their lead but Pal shot over from close range off an SV Sunil pass.

As the game advanced to the closing stages, India got more numbers behind the ball and defended stoutly.

The last quarter saw Japan securing a total of four penalty corners, but nothing seemed to be going their way as the Indians held onto their slender lead.

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