India wrap up hockey series with victory

Wednesday 13th May 2015 07:22 EDT

Newly-appointed coach of the Indian hockey team Paul van Ass will be a happy man now. Not only did his team beat Japan 2-1 but with this victory they also won the four-match series 2-0 with a match to spare.

After both the teams failed to score in the first quarter, VR Raghunath put India ahead in the dying minutes of the second quarter at Kalinga Stadium. Six minutes after restart, the home team struck again as Akashdeep Singh scored his first of the series. However, Japan didn't go down without a fight and it was Hirotaka Wakari who reduced the lead towards the end of the third quarter.

It was another good performance by the Indian team where they dominated the game for most of the 60 minutes. India created a lot of chances but, like the last match, they failed to convert them. The strikers were also a let down as far as winning penalty corners are concerned. But on the whole, things look a lot better than what it was during the first match of the series. If they can carry on this form, the Indian fans can hope for some good results during the World League Semifinals.

Earlier in the match, Japan went on the offensive from the very word go. But the Indian defenders continued with their good show and kept the Japanese strikers at bay. Birendra Lakra and Jasjit Singh Kular kept their cool and made some excellent clearances.

India didn't sit back though and made their first move six minutes into the match. Sardar played the ball to Akashdeep, who made a run into the D and passed it to SV Sunil. He made a wonderful turn near the goal but couldn't hold onto the ball as it was cleared by the Japanese defence. India made two more attacks but were unsuccessful in sounding the board.

They carried on the momentum in the second quarter also but it was the world No. 16 team who had the first shot on goal four minutes into the restart.Japan skipper Tomonori Ono ran down the right flank and played the ball to Hiroki Sakamoto. He hit the ball hard but it went straight to goalkeeper.

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