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India beat fighting Japan 3-2 to enter final of Asian Champions Trophy, to face Pakistan

Young striker Gurjant Singh gave India the lead in the 19th minute with a fine reverse hit field goal before Japan equalised through Wakuri three minutes later from a penalty corner.

other sports Updated: Oct 28, 2018 00:47 IST
PTI
PTI
Muscat
India men's hockey team,Japan men's hockey team,Gurjant Singh
India play Pakistan in the final of the 2018 Asian Champions Trophy. (PTI)

Defending champions India eked out a close 3-2 win over Asian Games gold medalist Japan to enter the final of the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) hockey tournament, here on Saturday.

It turned out to be a tall task for the world no. 5 Indians to get past Japan against whom they had registered a convincing 9-0 win in the league stages.

Young striker Gurjant Singh gave India the lead in the 19th minute with a fine reverse hit field goal before Japan equalised through Wakuri three minutes later from a penalty corner.

After the change of ends, India restored their lead when Chinglensana Singh deflected in from a penalty corner in the 44th minute.

Five minutes from the hooter Dilpreet Singh extended India’s lead with a superb field strike in the 55th minute.

But India’s joy was shortlived as Japan reduced the margin a minute later when Zendana scored from a penalty corner to give serious threats to the Indians.

But thereafter, the Indians defended well in numbers to thwart Japan’s challenge in the final few minutes to register the hard-fought win and a place in tomorrow’s final against arch-rivals Pakistan.

Earlier in the day, two-time champions Pakistan defeated Malaysia 3-1 in the shootout after a 4-4 draw in regulation period of the the first semi-final to enter Sunday’s summit clash.

First Published: Oct 28, 2018 00:47 IST