Indian hockey colts face Japan in Asia Cup semis

Kuantan (Malaysia), Nov 20 (IANS) After humiliating Oman 9-0, a confident India will play Japan in the first semi-final of the 8th Junior Men’s Asia Cup hockey tournament at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium here on Saturday.

The match will be their second meeting after their opening match in the group stage of the tournament. India won that encounter and will have a psychological advantage over their opponents.

“We have faced Japan earlier in the pool stage. We are familiar with their game which gives us confidence. The rest day has given us enough time to figure out the flaws from the first match against Japan and we have ardently worked on rectifying them,” India chief coach Harendra Singh said in a release.

The Indian team has been unbeaten in the tournament so far with wins over Japan, Malaysia, China and Oman. The Indian forwards have been in dominant form in the tournament, while set-piece specialist Harmanpreet Singh has already scored nine goals.

“Semi-final is a different ball game all together and we will have to concentrate on playing our natural game without being too cautious of the stage of the tournament. We will be hoping for a good team performance.”

Japan’s performance has also picked up in the past two matches with wins over China in their last group stage match and Bangladesh in the quarter-finals.

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