Johor Bahru (Malaysia), October 9: The Indian Junior Men’s Hockey team remained on top of their game as they registered their third successive victory at the 8th Sultan of Johor Cup 2018 as they beat Japan 1-0 in a closely-fought match.
The rain-affected India-Japan match which was stopped for a few minutes during the first quarter was intensely fought between the two teams. With Japan on the rise with both their Senior and Junior teams making good progress in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics, the India Colts had their task cut out.
Their attack was often challenged with good, disciplined defence structure that Japan adopted during the entire duration of play. Though India made a few chances in the opening quarter with the team winning a PC, it was denied by a good Japanese defence.
With the second quarter too ending in a stalemate with both teams at 0-0, the third quarter saw India up their attack. While two PCs were awarded to India after a Japanese infringement, it was in the second attempt that Skipper Mandeep Mor converted a well-executed PC in the 42nd minute.
Leading by only a goal, India put all their might into defence with Goalkeeper Pankaj Rajak making some excellent saves to keep his team in the lead. India overcame a close shave when Japan won a PC with minutes left for the final hooter, however, the chance was missed and India held their nerves to seal the match and the winning points.
Earlier in the tournament, India Colts had won 2-1 against Malaysia and 7-1 against New Zealand.
India will next take on defending champions Australia in their fourth match today at 13.35 IST.