NEW DELHI: India and Japan played out a thrilling 1-1 draw in a closely contested match at the ongoing Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament on Friday. India, fresh off a dominant 7-2 victory against China in their opening match, missed several chances to secure a win against a resilient Japanese side.

As it happened: India vs Japan
The match started with an engaging first quarter, where India showcased an attacking style of play. Despite some positive possession and scoring opportunities, both teams were unable to find the back of the net. Japan suffered an early setback with a player being substituted due to an injury, while India earned eight penalty corners during the quarter but failed to convert any of them.

The intensity remained high in the second quarter, with both teams pushing for a breakthrough. India’s Jugraj Singh received a green card in the 27th minute, and the very next minute saw Japan being awarded a penalty corner. Ken Nagayoshi stepped up and converted the chance, putting Japan ahead in the 28th minute.
After the halftime break, India came out with a technical and relentless approach, engaging in aerial plays. Their efforts paid off when they earned a penalty corner in the 43rd minute. Skipper Harmanpreet Singh capitalised on the opportunity, firing a powerful flick into the net to level the score.

The final quarter witnessed a shift to attacking hockey from both sides. India had a golden opportunity to take the lead when they earned a penalty corner in the 55th minute. However, Japan successfully utilised a video referral to challenge the decision, and it was overruled. India’s Mandeep Singh also received a yellow card a minute later, adding to the drama.
India’s attack was relentless throughout the match, earning a total of 15 penalty corners compared to Japan’s mere two. However, their inability to convert these chances into goals proved costly.
After a day’s break, India will face Malaysia on Sunday, seeking to get back to winning ways. Meanwhile, Japan will be up against Pakistan on the same day, aiming to continue their impressive form.
(With inputs from PTI)

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