Hangzhou [China], September 28 (ANI): India men's hockey team head coach Craig Fulton admitted that his team lost control as 2018 gold medal winners Japan inched closer in the final quarter by making an unprecedented comeback in the ongoing Asian Games on Thursday.
Abhishek (13', 48'), Mandeep Singh (24'), and Amit Rohidas (34') were the goal scorers for India, securing a crucial 4-2 victory over Japan.
India dominated the 2018 gold medallist in each department in the three quarters but the tides started to shift in the final quarter as Genki Mitani (57') and Ryosei Kato (60') found the net for their team in a span of three minutes.
After the game, Fulton reflected on the game and admitted that India played better for the first three quarters but lost control in the final quarter. He also said that they are looking forward to their upcoming game against Pakistan on Saturday.
"A good game against Japan, I think we did well for about three-quarters of that match. I think in the last quarter we weren't as good as we can be we lost a bit of control but it was nice to play Japan they are a great team, a good counter-attacking team a solid team, we did well in the first half. We are looking forward to Pakistan," Fulton said as quoted from a video by Hockey India.
Coming to the game, India began the match with Jarmanpreet Singh making dangerous overlapping runs from the right flank to trouble the opposition. Japan's defence was tested when Jarmanpreet picked up a long pass inside the striking circle and found Sukhjeet Singh in front of the nets. But the tap from Sukhjeet just went wide.
A late penalty corner from Japan was well defended by India goalkeeper Krishan Bahadur Pathak. A minute later, Abhishek (13') picked a deflected pass, and quickly turned around to strike the ball into the nets, putting India ahead by a goal to end the first quarter.
India made the most of an early penalty corner in the third quarter as Amit Rohidas (34') found the nets with a powerful flick and India went 3-0 up over Japan. Kosei Kawabe created a chance to get a shot on target, but the Indian goalkeeper Krishan Bahadur Pathak made another stellar save to maintain India's three-goal lead by the end of the third quarter.
A perfect counter-attack early on in the final quarter led to Abhishek (48') turning the ball into the nets, after combination play with Mandeep Singh inside the circle, and India went ahead by 4-0. Japan made a dangerous run inside India's circle, but Sumit made another important save to deny the opposition.
Japan scored twice in the final quarter but it wasn't enough for them to get a result. (ANI)