Indian men’s hockey team has registered their fourth win at the Tokyo Olympics. India hammered Japan 5-3 in their last group stage match to confirm a top-two finish. The hosts put up a good show but the Men in Blue proved just too good for the Japanese as they end their campaign without a win.
The Indians dominated the first half peppering the Japanese post with a flurry of attacks. Their relentless efforts paid off as Harmanpreet Singh hammered in the lone penalty corner in the first half. The penalty corner was created by young striker Simranjeet Singh, who was impressive in the final third.
India see-off a resilient Japan
The Men in Blue struck early in the second quarter with Gurjant Singh turning the ball into the back of the net. While the big guns of Asia were quick to strike, Japan were a much-improved side in the second quarter. The hosts scored courtesy a great finish by their skipper following a defensive lapse by Birender Lakra. The goal changed the complexion of the Japanese as they played with renewed intensity.
Picking up from where they left in the first half, Japan struck early in the third half. The move was created exquisitely before Watanaki turned it in. In reply, the Men in Blue equalised within a minute as Shamsher Singh deflected it in to regain the lead for India. India continued to test the hosts relentlessly but couldn’t add to the scoreline
End-to-end hockey ensued in the final quarter too with India managing to score a couple of impressive goals. Gurjant found himself on the scoresheet again while Nilakanta Sharma scored his maiden Olympics brace in the 51st minute. Showing some resilience, Japan pulled back a third goal as Kazuma Morata found the net.