Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019: Varun Kumar, Simranjeet Singh score to help India start campaign with win over Japan

India defeated Asian Games champions Japan 2-0 to start their campaign at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on a positive note.

Press Trust of India March 23, 2019 17:38:23 IST
Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019: Varun Kumar, Simranjeet Singh score to help India start campaign with win over Japan
  • India defeated Asian Games champion Japan 2-0 to start their campaign at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on a positive note.

  • Varun Kumar converted a penalty corner to hand India the lead before Simranjeet Singh scored a diving field goal to secure all three points for India.

  • India will play Korea in their next league game on Sunday before taking on hosts Malaysia (26 March), Canada (27 March) and Poland (29 March).

Ipoh: India defeated Asian Games champions Japan 2-0 to start their campaign at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on a positive note on Saturday.

Varun Kumar converted a penalty corner in the 24th minute to hand India the lead before Simranjeet Singh (55th) scored a diving field goal from skipper Manpreet Singh's brilliant pass to secure full three points for the five-time champions.

Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019 Varun Kumar Simranjeet Singh score to help India start campaign with win over Japan

India beat Japan to get their Sultan Azlan Shah Cup campaign off to a winning start. Image courtesy: Twitter @TheHockeyIndia

India will play Korea in their next league game on Sunday before taking on hosts Malaysia (26 March), Canada (27 March) and Poland (29 March).

The top two teams from the round robin league stage will play in the final on 30 March.

After a goalless first quarter, India slowly took control of the proceedings. Eight minutes into the second quarter, India won a penalty corner and Varun made no mistake in finding the back of the Japanese goal with a powerful drag-flick.

The Indian midfield manned by skipper Manpreet and Kothajit Singh stole the limelight by creating numerous scoring chances but the forward line was guilty of wasting opportunities.

With four minutes remaining for the second hooter, Mandeep Singh missed the target by a whisker after being set up by a good pass from Sumit Kumar Junior.

In the third quarter, Japan secured their first penalty corner in the 33rd minute but India custodian PR Sreejesh did well to thwart the danger.

The following minutes saw both India and Japan create scoring opportunities but in vain.

With two minutes remaining for the third hooter, Japanese striker Kenji Kitazato took a brave shot on goal but missed the post by a big margin.

Playing in overcast conditions with the temperature hovering around 28 degrees, India continued its hunt for a second goal and earned a penalty corner within minutes of the fourth quarter.

But this time Varun missed the mark, allowing Japan to launch a quick counter-attack, which was kept at bay by Birendra Lakra's alertness.

Japan tried different ways to dislodge India, used full-press to gain ball-possession but did not succeed.

Japan removed their goalkeeper to add an extra man in the 55th minute but the tactic backfired with India making use of the opportunity to double their lead. It was a diving effort by Simranjeet that put India ahead.

With just two minutes remaining, Japan secured another penalty corner but the attempt was well-defended by Surender Kumar, backed by goalkeeper Krishan Pathak, who replaced Sreejesh after half-time.

Updated Date:

also read

Tokyo Olympics 2020: India men's hockey team simulating Games atmosphere to train, says Ramandeep Singh
Sports

Tokyo Olympics 2020: India men's hockey team simulating Games atmosphere to train, says Ramandeep Singh

Ramandeep said they are assessing their bodies and testing their skills by replicating their side's Olympic schedule in training as they are targeting a winning start to seize early momentum.

Tokyo Olympics 2020: We want to pay tribute to COVID-19 warriors by winning medal, says Manpreet Singh
Sports

Tokyo Olympics 2020: We want to pay tribute to COVID-19 warriors by winning medal, says Manpreet Singh

Manpreet is determined to pay tribute to the country's frontline workers by finishing on the podium in the Tokyo Games to be held from 23 July to 8 August.

Selection in Olympic-bound team was my late father's dream, says India women's hockey forward Lalremsiami
Sports

Selection in Olympic-bound team was my late father's dream, says India women's hockey forward Lalremsiami

The 21-year-old created history when she became the first female player from Mizoram to be picked for the Olympics.