India playing their fourth match in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup against Japan in Ipoh, Malaysia. The match could have turned both sides till the end and Mandeep Singh’s hat-trick triggered India’s 4-3 victory. Earlier in the third match, India had been defeated by the defending champion Australians 1-3. This match would have provided a positive boost in the Indian camp.

India had grabbed an early lead in the match with Rupinder steering in a penalty corner by Sardar. The first quarter then saw Japan equalise in the 13th minute with a goal from Kazuma Murata. The second quarter witnessed two failed penalty corners from the Indian side. The first half finished level at 1-1.

With just 3 minutes left in the third quarter, Japan gained the lead with Heita Yoshihara’s goal past Sreejesh. This point of the match got very tense because the next three minutes saw Japan and India both scoring once. The score at the end of the third quarter was 3-2 in favor of Japan.

India scripted a comeback in the final quarter with the Mandeep Singh completing his hat-trick. He scored consecutive goals penetrating the Japanese defence in the 51st and 58th minute. The last few moments of the match saw desperate attempts from the Japanese side to recover but to no avail.

India has now had 2 wins and 1 each draw and loss. The loss against Australia seemed to have got them away from their path but their comeback against the Japanese showed different prospects. In that game too, India had an early lead only to lose it to the Kookaburras with three consecutive goals.

India is having a mixed tournament so far still look strong in contention for the league title. They now stand second in the league table below only Australia who is currently enjoying an undefeated spell in the Cup.

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