Tokyo: The Indian men’s as well as women’s hockey teams won the Olympic Test event here on Wednesday, beating New Zealand 5-0 and Japan 2-1 respectively.
In the men’s final, captain Harmanpreet Singh (7th minute) set the ball rolling before Shamsher Singh (18th minute), Nilakanta Sharma (22nd minute), Gursahibjit Singh (26th minute) and Mandeep Singh (27th minute) scored for India at the Oi Hockey Stadium here.
India had lost 1-2 to New Zealand earlier in round robin league-stage.
“We played very well. We managed to score our opportunities at the start of the game,” Harmanpreet said after the triumph.
“I think the final was always going to be tough, we lost to New Zealand earlier. But we had been having practice sessions after that and worked on our mistakes to win today,” he added.
Both teams began the match on a cautious note by turning over the ball in the mid-field. India won a penalty corner in the seventh minute, but couldn’t capitalise on the opportunity.
However, skipper Harmanpreet didn’t miss out on a re-awarded penalty corner. He executed a perfect dragflick to put India in the lead.
The Indian team continued to hold possession and put tremendous pressure on the New Zealand defense as they ended the first quarter at 1-0.
Shamsher scored India’s second goal through a penalty corner in the 18th minute.
New Zealand managed to make only two circle entries in the second quarter as the Indian team scored three more goals.
Nilakanta found the back of the net in the 22nd minute before Gursahibjit and Mandeep scored in quick succession.
Vivek Prasad intercepted the ball brilliantly to assist a goal for Gursahibjit and Mandeep converted a penalty corner just before the half-time whistle.
After an action-packed first half, the intensity dropped from both sides. New Zealand tried to make a few inroads in the third quarter as they took a shot in the 37th minute which went wide of the post.
Jarmanpreet Singh saved a penalty corner in the next minute as India and New Zealand played out a goalless quarter but the former held the lead.
In the last quarter, India ensured they stayed in the lead and didn’t allow New Zealand to break through their defense throughout the match. India’s attacking approach in the match paid off as they walked off the pitch as winners of the competition.
Women rap hosts
The women’s team did well too, with Navjot Kaur and Lalremsiami leading the side to victory.
Navjot Kaur (11th minute) opened the scoring to put India ahead but the lead was neutralised within a minute as Minami Shimizu (12') scored for the hosts.
Lalremsiami (33rd minute) struck the winning goal for India.
India dominated the first 10 minutes, and finally managed to find the breakthrough when Forward Navjot kept her nerves under pressure and produced a fine finish in front of the goal.
However, the next minute saw Japan strike back immediately with a well-crafted field goal which was put into the back of the net by Shimizu to make it 1-1.
Forward Lalremsiami slotted the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-1 for India....