15 Oct 2019

India slumped to a shock 4-3 defeat at the hands of Japan at the Sultan of Johor Cup.

It was indeed a match that India did not deserve a point as they were poor both in midfield and Attack.

“ We were not at our best and all credit to Japan who took their chances well,” said Indian coach BJ Kariapa.

“ We now have to win both our final two matches to stand a chance of making the final.”

India had won both their matches prior to this, defeating Malaysia 4-2 and New Zealand 8-2.

In contrast Japan lost both of theirs, going down 1-2 to Australia and 0-2 to Britain.

Wartaru Matsumoto gave Japan a dream start as he converted a penalty corner in the very first minute.

India were stunned but the likes of Dilpreet Singh and Maninder Singh failed to get the midfield and forward moving.

And skipper Mandeep Mor had his hands full in trying to contain the fast Japanese forwards.

And Japan extended their lead in the 22nd minute, this time Kosei Kawabe making good their third penalty corner.

It was not until the third quarter that India got their act together with Sudeep Chirmako scoring a minute into the quarter.

Barely had the cheers for India died down that Japan regained their two goal advantage with Keita Watanabe scoring from yet another penalty corner in the 33rd minute.

In the 37th minute Kawabe latched on to a high flick out of defence to score the fourth for Japan.

However India forced a penalty corner in the 38th minute and Sharda Nand Tiwari madd it 4-2. 

Partap Lakra then scored in the 53rd minute , also from a penalty corner to reduce the deficit to 4-3.

For Koyoichi Nagaya the win was an unexpected one

“ We need to plan and build on this success for our next two matches and hope to finish higher,” he said.

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