In India vs Japan, the second group hockey match of the 2023 Asian Champions Trophy, a tough Japanese team held India to a 1-1 draw as the host nation labored to convert penalty corners. The game began with a wonderful play by the Indian defense before Japan got some breathing room in the middle and began to exploit it.
Terrible penalty corner conversion came back to bite India as captain Harmanpreet Singh was unable to convert four consecutive penalty corners, with the Japanese defense coming in the way each time.
The Japanese team got their first penalty corner, further tilting the play in their favor. While India maintained its pressure, Japan remained defensive.
India’s penalty corner woes went on, with Harmanpreet Singh missing three in the last minutes of the opening quarter.
Takumi Kitagawa’s goalkeeping was outstanding in the second quarter, as he pulled a double save against the Indian onslaught and then denied Akashdeep Singh.
In the 28th minute, Japan gained their second penalty corner while the Indian squad was attempting to find a way to break the Japanese defense.
The stadium fell quiet when Ken Nagayoshi’s drag flick found the back of the Indian net, giving Japan an appropriate 1-0 lead heading into the second half.
The fourth quarter began with India assaulting Japan’s goal, but the Japanese defense held firm against the onslaught.
India was awarded five penalty corners in 10 minutes, and despite Jugraj Singh and Varun taking them at the same time, India could not convert any of them. India practically competed with 10 men and defended their goal after Mandeep was given a yellow card in the 55th minute.