The Indian hockey team kicked off the Hero Asia Cup with a dominant 5-1 victory over Japan in Dhaka. They come into this tournament as the favourites and cemented that status against Japan. The Hero Asia Cup is newly-appointed coach Sjoerd Marijne’s first test since Roelant Oltmans’ sacking. It will be an arduous task for the 43-year-old Marijne to fill in the big shoes of Oltmans. Oltmans made a significant contribution to Indian hockey in his four-year tenure, lifting the Asian powerhouse from 12 to sixth in the world rankings. Last edition’s runner-up India will be pleased with a perfect start to their campaign in Pool A which also features arch-rivals Pakistan and hosts Bangladesh. India will now play Bangladesh in their next Pool A encounter on Friday 13 October and Pakistan on 15th October
Hero Asia Cup: Post Match Analysis
The Indian Hockey team romped to an easy win over Japan in their opening match at the 2017 Hero Asia Cup. The last time the 2 met was during the Azlan Shah Cup where India won 4-3. Right off the bat, SV Sunil fired India into the lead in the 3rd minute. Japan equalised a minute later, courtesy a fine effort from Kenji Kitazato. At the end of the 1st quarter, the score was 1-1
Japan opted to substitute their goalkeeper for the second half but India went on the attack straightaway. The Indian team’s next few minutes were rife with missed chances. Finally, in the 22nd minute, India found the back of the net again. This time, the man behind the ball was Lalit Upadhyay and the score is 2-1. India missed another opportunity to double the score and Japan went on the counterattack.
In the 33rd minute, Ramandeep Singh, almost from a zero angle, finds the back of the net. But Japan have referred it as they felt that it went through the side-netting. Unfortunately for the Japanese. But it’s been ruled in favour of India, and Japan lose the referral. 2 minutes later, Harmanpreet added a 3rd goal. Japan were now desperate, they counterattacked once again but the Indian goalkeeper was ready for them. Once again, India had the opportunity to extend the lead but had numerous missed chances.
Harmanpreet Singh was the first and only player to score a brace as his penalty corner gave India its 5th goal in the 48th minute. Unfortunately India was dealt a blow as Ramandeep and a Japanese player collided, with the Indian coming off worse. Ramandeep limped off and will miss the remainder of the match. The rest of the game saw another flurry of wild shots and saves from both ends. India had gotten into promising positions on several occasions but failed to convert them.