India beat Japan 3-2 in Asian Champions Trophy semis, to face Pakistan in finalhttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/hockey/india-beat-japan-3-2-in-asian-champions-trophy-semis-to-face-pakistan-in-final-5421591/

India beat Japan 3-2 in Asian Champions Trophy semis, to face Pakistan in final

Indians defended well in numbers to thwart Japan's challenge in the final few minutes to register the hard-fought win and a place in tomorrow's final against arch-rivals Pakistan.

It turned out to be a tall task for the world no. 5 Indians to get past Japan against whom they had registered a convincing 9-0 win in the league stages. (PTI Photo)

Defending champions India eked out a close 3-2 win over Asian Games gold medalist Japan to enter the final of the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) hockey tournament, in Muscat on Saturday.

It turned out to be a tall task for the world no. 5 Indians to get past Japan against whom they had registered a convincing 9-0 win in the league stages.

Young striker Gurjant Singh gave India the lead in the 19th minute with a fine reverse hit field goal before Japan equalised through Wakuri three minutes later from a penalty corner.

After the change of ends, India restored their lead when Chinglensana Singh deflected in from a penalty corner in the 44th minute.

Five minutes from the hooter Dilpreet Singh extended India’s lead with a superb field strike in the 55th minute.

But India’s joy was shortlived as Japan reduced the margin a minute later when Zendana scored from a penalty corner to give serious threats to the Indians.

But thereafter, the Indians defended well in numbers to thwart Japan’s challenge in the final few minutes to register the hard-fought win and a place in tomorrow’s final against arch-rivals Pakistan.

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Earlier in the day, two-time champions Pakistan defeated Malaysia 3-1 in the shootout after a 4-4 draw in regulation period of the first semi-final to enter tomorrow’s summit clash.