FIH Series Finals Bhubaneswar 2019, India vs Japan, Highlights, Hockey Match: India keep Olympic hopes alive with emphatic 7-2 win

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FIH Series Finals Bhubaneswar 2019, India vs Japan, Highlights, Hockey Match: India keep Olympic hopes alive with emphatic 7-2 win
  • 21:10 (IST)

    That's all from us folks!

    With India's Tokyo 2020 hopes now well and truly alive, they will take on South Africa in the final tomorrow. Check back in with us for latest updates as we cover the match on our live blog. Thank you and goodnight!

  • India 7-2 Japan, FT

    It's done! At one stage, the game was nicely poised at 2-2 but then India took charge and scored five more goals to take the game away from Japan. They will now face South Africa in the final but more importantly, they have made it to the Olympic Qualification. They will play two-legged home and away matches in November to make it to the Tokyo Olympics.

  • India 7-2 Japan, Q4

    The stadium is clearing out. Fans at the Kalinga Stadium are sure about India's victory. Three more minutes are remaining. India will look to score one more goal.

  • 20:56 (IST)

    India 7-2 Japan, Q4

    To their credit, the Japanese players have continued to pile pressure onto the Indian defence, but their attacks are fizzling out, either going wide or earning them penalty corners, all of which they have failed to convert. 

  • India 7-2 Japan, Q4

    Vivek Sagar Prasad collects the ball in the centre of the D and smashes it past the Japan goalkeeper. Criminal to allow that kind of space to an attacker near the net.

  • India 6-2 Japan, Q3

    A lapse in concentration from Japan and Gursahibjit Singh punishes them with India's sixth goal. Japan players were still arguing with the umpire about a decision and they didn't turn their focus on India's attack. This game looks done and dusted.

  • 20:35 (IST)

    India 5-2 Japan, Q3

    Japan's captain Manabu Yamashita is carried off on a stretcher after receiving a knock from the edge of Ramandeep Singh's stick.

  • India 5-2 Japan, Q3

    Ramandeep Singh from the rebound to score India's fifth goal. Good presence of mind from the forward to convert the chance. Japan's comeback looks extremely tough now.

  • India 4-2 Japan, Q3

    The match has slowed down a bit. Indian players are now controlling the tempo. Probably Reid wanted to slow things down to frustrate Japan. Meanwhile, Mandeep Singh with a close chance from a penalty corner but Japan does well to stop the ball from going inside the net.

  • 20:21 (IST)

    India 4-2 Japan, Q3

    It's been a relatively sedentary start in the third quarter, with the frenetic pace of the first half seeming to have taken its toll on the players. Japan have gotten into the final third of their opponents from time to time but there haven't been many clear cut chances. 

  • End of Second Quarter

    India did well to score four goals and make it tougher for Japan in the match. One more goal from India can take the game away from their opponents. Despite the two-goal lead, India coach Graham Reid will know that there are quite a few areas his team needs to work. The defence need to be more aware during counter-attacks. Japan will come down hard in the second-half.

  • 20:06 (IST)

    India 4-2 Japan, Q2

    PR Sreejesh saves yet again! The Indian goalkeeper has been athletically leaping around, pulling off incredible saves, and he does so yet again, from a Japan penalty corner. India are letting their concentration slip a little though, and have given away a couple of penalty corners in quick succession. 

  • India 4-2 Japan, Q2

    HARDIK SINGH! He makes up for a terrible miss in the first quarter. Spectacular shot from the centre to score India's fourth goal. The crowd at the Kalinga Stadium is happy.

  • India 3-2 Japan, Q2

    Once again, India didn't take much time to respond. Gurinder Singh's pass reaches Ramandeep Singh, who scores his first goal of the tournament. He must have wanted the goal badly, since this tournament marked his return from injury.

  • India 2-2 Japan, Q2

    Just too good from Japan! They are relentless and it is working for them as Kota Watanabe scores from a close range to equalise. Indian defence need to up the ante.

  • 19:51 (IST)

    India 2-1 Japan, Q2

    What a save from PR Sreejesh! Kenta Tanaka has been a relentless runner, harrying Indian defenders and twisting and turning his way through the blue shirts. He skips past Manpreet Singh to unleash a ferocious shot on goal, but Sreejesh saves. 

  • India 2-1 Japan, Q1

    Varun makes no mistake from India's fifth penalty corner. India take a well-deserving lead in the first quarter.

  • India 1-1 Japan, Q1

    Japan have been relying on counter-attacking play throughout the tournament. Once again, Aikman is sticking to his game plan. He will be happy with the start but things can change quickly. India meanwhile have been getting penalty corner after penalty corner.

  • India 1-1 Japan, Q1

    Solid hit from Harmanpreet Singh to convert from the second penalty corner on his 100th appearance for India. India didn't take much time to equalise. Good response from the team.

  • India 0-1 Japan, Q1

    Hardik Singh, goodness what a miss! He should've scored that. India coach Graham Reid spoke about converting chances in the opening period but looks like the team didn't get the message.

  • 19:22 (IST)

    India 0-1 Japan, Q1

    India are stunned in just the second minute! Kenta Tanaka creates a beautiful opportunity for Kenji Kitazato, who buries it in the back of the net! Game on!

  • India's last three results against Japan. 2-0 at the this year's Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. 3-2 and 9-0 at the Asian Champions Trophy

  • 19:16 (IST)

    And here's how Japan lines up!

  • 19:15 (IST)

    Here's a look at India's starting XI

  • As has been the case since last year or two, the key for India is to convert their chances. Be it under Harendra Singh or current coach Graham Reid, Indian players have been guilty of profligacy. The pressure is more on India this time as compared to Japan because Siegfried Aikman's team have already made it to the Olympics.

  • In the other semi-final, South Africa crushed the US's dream of making it to a major final after beating them 2-1. A last-minute field goal from Nicholas Spooner clinched the win for the African side. The road to Tokyo Olympics becomes tough for the US as now they have to win the gold medal at the Pan American Games to book a ticket to Tokyo.

  • The Indian players are out. It's a tricky semi-final against Japan in the FIH World Series, set to be played at the Kalinga Stadium. If they win this tie and make it to the final, they will qualify to play Olympics Qualifications. A crucial match for India's Olympics dream.

  • 18:49 (IST)

    India coach Graham Reid wants his players to treat the semi-final like a regular game

    "This has to be a normal game for us. We have to prepare like we normally would. If you had asked me the same question before (our) first game, I think I will say (would have said) we will be preparing the same way," said Reid in the pre-match press conference. Read more about Reid's preparations for the match in Firstpost reporter Anish Anand's piece

  • 18:45 (IST)

    South Africa wins the other semi-final thanks to a late goal!

    South Africa are into the final, where they will face the winner of the India vs Japan fixture. A last-minute goal from Nicholas Spooner sees South Africa beat the United States of America by the slender margin of 2-1. 

  • 18:16 (IST)

    India start as the favourites against Japan in semis, but it's not going to be an easy outing by any stretch of the imagination

    'In their previous 13 matches, India have lost none, they have scored 61 goals and conceded 12 and during that period, they have scored five-plus, five times with scores like 10-2, 6-0, 8-0 and 9-0; the last two scorelines coming in the 2018 Asian Games (8-0) and at the 2018 Asian Champions Trophy (9-0).

    Yet, it’s Japan who are the Asian Games Champions and not India.' 

    Click here to read more of Sundeep Misra's preview of the match.

  • 18:06 (IST)

    Hello and welcome to Firstpost's coverage of the FIH Series Finals semi-final between India and Japan!

    Japan, having qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics twice over, courtesy of being both the host nation as well as the winners of the Asian Games, stand between India and the finals of the Bhubaneswar leg of the tournament. 

Preview: A tricky opponent in Asian Games champion Japan is sure to test India but home advantage gives Manpreet Singh and his men the upper-hand in the semi-final of the FIH Series Finals hockey tournament on Friday.

Even though they registered some big wins in the preliminary stages against lower-ranked opponents, the Indians, under new chief coach Graham Reid, are yet to showcase their perfect game on the turf. The finalists will qualify for the FIH Olympic Qualifiers to be held in October-November this year.

 FIH Series Finals Bhubaneswar 2019, India vs Japan, Highlights, Hockey Match: India keep Olympic hopes alive with emphatic 7-2 win

India have registered big wins in the preliminary stages of FIH Series Finals. (FIH)

India notched up 10-0 wins over Russia and Uzbekistan and scraped past Poland 3-1 in the pool stages.

The performance of the Manpreet Singh-led side is far from impressive. While the midfield has done well under Manpreet, it is the finishing which is a cause of concern for the Indians.

In all the three matches, India created innumerable scoring chances, but the strike force lacked the finishing touch.

Barring Akashdeep Singh, no other striker has looked threatening in the tournament so far.

While Mandeep Singh and young Gursahibjit Singh played well in patches, Ramandeep Singh, who returned to the side after nearly a one-year injury lay-off, looked a pale shadow of his past self.

"I am happy that we created plenty of chances but we need to work on our basic skills like finishing. It is an area where we need improvement," India's chief coach Graham Reid had said.

The Indian defence too has hardly been tested in the tournament so far with Poland being the only team to cause some trouble.

Both the goalkeepers — PR Sreejesh and Krishan Bahadur Pathak — were mostly spectators in the pool matches but the scenario would be different Friday as the Japanese are expected to trouble the hosts.

The Asian Games champions gave India a tough fight even though they lost in the past two encounters.

While India beat Japan 3-2 in the semi-final of the Asian Champions Trophy in Doha last year, in their last meeting in the Azlan Shah Cup earlier this year, Manpreet and Co. eked out a 2-0 win.

Japan, on the other hand, have nothing to lose as they are already assured of an Olympic berth by virtue of being the hosts as well as continental champions.

Japan are taking this tournament as a preparation for the Games to be held in Tokyo.

Siegfried Aikman and his men would be desperate to prove a point that their Asian Games gold was not a fluke.

After a below-par pool round where they finished second behind lower-ranked USA, World No 18 Japan thrashed Poland 6-2 in the cross-overs on Wednesday.

With inputs from Agencies.

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Updated Date: Jun 14, 2019 21:11:54 IST