Finally a dream come true. Last time India could not reach the final of the Asian Games hockey. Won bronze by defeating Pakistan. Gold came home again in hockey on Friday. India beat Japan 5-1 in the final. Harmanpreet Singh scored two goals. One goal each by Manpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas and Abhishek. Another gold added to India’s medal tally. India won 22 golds in this year’s Asiad.
India beat Japan 4-2 in the group stage. It was 3-0 in the first quarter. But Saturday’s match is very different. This Japan was much more organized. As a result, Indian players could not open the mouth of the goal. But as time passed, India easily broke the impenetrable defense of Japan. They scored five goals, not one or two.
Japan’s attack was starting from the goalkeeper. They were attacking at a fast pace by playing passes among themselves. Indian players were having trouble keeping pace with that pace. Several times they entered the Japanese box. But could not use it. India got a penalty at the very end of the first half. But the Japanese goalkeeper saved it.
At the start of the second quarter, India got another penalty corner. But there was no goal even when trying to show variety. Japanese Reiki was causing quite a problem. On the other hand, India’s attack rested on Sukhjit, Mandeep and Manpreet. It was Manpreet who scored the first goal. He scored a reverse hit after 25 minutes. The umpire checked whether Mandeep had obstructed the Japanese player or not. But after a referral, India’s goal was declared valid.
At the beginning of the third quarter, India again earned a penalty corner. Manpreet hits the ball at Masaki’s feet. India did not succeed for the first time. Harmanpreet did not make a mistake the second time. Hardik passed to Mandeep. The Japanese goalkeeper could not stop Harmanpreet’s powerful drag flick. India’s third goal came in this quarter. This time, Amit Rohidas’ stick put India ahead.
The fourth goal in the fourth quarter came from Abhishek’s stick. India were quick to attack inside the box. Abhishek scored with a corner shot. Japan clawed back a goal in the last quarter. Tanaka scored. Harmanpreet scored India’s last goal from a penalty corner 41 seconds ago.