A brand new-look Indian workforce paid for its inexperience and profligacy with Asian champions Japan soundly thrashing them 5-2 in a bunch A league match of the lads’s Asia Cup hockey championship right here on Tuesday.
Having drawn towards Pakistan within the opening recreation, India’s probabilities after this defeat can be badly dented as even an enormous win towards Indonesia within the final recreation may not be sufficient for qualification to the knock-out levels.
Ken Nagayoshi, Kosei Kawabe (twice), Ryomi Ooka and Koji Yamasaki scored for Japan whereas Pawan Rajbhar and Uttam Singh discovered the goal for the Indians.
Nevertheless, the youthful crop of gamers did not measure up towards the Japanese, who seemed extra organised and hit India repeatedly on the counters.
The 2 seniors — Birendra Lakra and SV Sunil — seemed effectively previous their prime and could not make any tangible distinction with their performances.
“First two quarters have been very powerful as a result of we did not get into any rhythm. We obtained higher within the final two quarters however didn’t create many probabilities,” mentioned Lakra, the India captain.
“Within the last quarter, we misplaced our defensive construction and conceded a few targets. Additionally we misplaced two males and that had an impact,” Lakra added.
India may have gone forward within the fifth minute of the primary half itself when 20-year-old Karthi Selvam saved an inch good cross from large left for veteran Sunil, who was inches in need of laying his stick for a tap-in.
The primary quarter was all about attempting to get management of the midfield with rookie Indian gamers shedding a variety of possession in the course of the part of play.
However, to their delight, the Japanese additionally did not make too many inroads save one penalty nook, which was well-saved by a diving Indian custodian Suraj Karkera.
Nevertheless, within the second half central midfielder Raj Kumar took a crack at objective from the sting of the placing circle, which was saved by Japan goalie Koji Yamasaki and, to India’s horror, the ball discovered Sunil’s boots as he was lurking contained in the ‘D’.
However India immediately fizzled out within the second quarter after that preliminary spark, even because the Japanese upped their ante and earned two extra penalty corners — the primary of which discovered drag-flicker Yoshiki Kirishita off the mark as his highly effective drag-flick sailed effectively over the cross-piece.
Nevertheless, within the twenty fourth minute, Ken Nagayoshi transformed the penalty nook with a strong angular drive that beat a diving Suraj all finally ends up.
There got here an opportunity of an equaliser when Nilam Sanjeep Xess’ help discovered Raj Kumar, whose reverse hit was saved by the keeper.
The issue with the inexperienced outfit was its propensity to assault primarily down the middle-third as an alternative of spreading the sport onto the large flanks.
The ageing Sunil’s poor outing additionally did not assist the Indians a lot because the workforce appeared to lack the artwork of enjoying the urgent recreation to earn the penalty corners not like the Japanese, who have been sensible on the counter over the past two quarters of the sport.
It was within the fortieth minute Japan made it 2-0 in a counter-attack with Kosei Kawabi snatching the ball from the Indian midfield and sprinting down the fitting wing operating left-back Dipsan Tirkey ragged together with his velocity.
It was a spectacular objective with Kawabi having his again in direction of the Indian objective together with his markers Dipsan and Nilam closing in on him. With a physique feint, Kawabi wrong-footed goalkeeper Suraj after which smashed it dwelling from an acute angle.
India discovered one thing going its manner within the dying moments of the third quarter when veteran Birendra Lakra saved a strong help contained in the placing circle melee and the big-bodied centre ahead Pawan Rajbhar was in the fitting place to put his stick for an ideal deflection that discovered the highest nook of the online.
The ultimate quarter as soon as once more noticed the Indians going all out and conceding a objective towards the run of play within the forty eighth minute.
With all however one gamers on the overlap, Ryosei Kato obtained a cross-field cross on the large proper and he minimize inside with goalkeeper Suraj at his mercy, and Ryomo Ooka ready for an open objective. Kato handed it to Ooka, who put it gleefully to make it 3-1.
Nevertheless, India equalised with the very subsequent transfer when Rajbhar despatched a cross from proper and ahead Uttam Singh tapped it in from shut vary to make it 2-3.
However there was extra dangerous luck for India as they immediately misplaced the numerical benefit with momentary suspensions of Rajbhar and Karthi.
The 9 versus eleven turned a lopsided contest as Japan repeatedly used the fitting flank to launch their assault. Koji Yamasaki obtained his objective within the 54th minute with a touch-in after not one of the Indian defenders cared to intercept a cross from the large proper.
The Indian resistance had ended and the fifth objective was the ultimate nail within the coffin — Kawabe slotting dwelling within the fifty fifth minute after his first shot rebounded off the goalkeeper.