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Tokyo Olympics: India men defeat Japan 5-3 in final group-stage hockey game

India had its bid for a medal in hockey alive in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In the final group stage game, the Indian men romped host Japan 5-2, thereby qualifying for the quarterfinal, where it would take on Great Britain.

Tokyo Olympics: India men romp Japan 5-3 in final group-stage hockey game-ayh
Tokyo, First Published Jul 30, 2021, 9:01 PM IST
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The hope for a medal in Indian hockey stayed alive in the Tokyo Olympics. The Indian men overpowered host Japan 5-3 in the final group stage game on Friday.

It all started with Harmanpreet Singh converting a penalty corner in the 12th minute to hand India the opening lead, which happened to the lone goal in the opening quarter. Meanwhile, Simranjeet Singh, who was playing his 50th game for India, handed a brilliant pass to Gurjant Singh to rope in the second in the 17th, before Kenta Tanaka pulled one back for Japan a couple of minutes later, as India maintained the slender lead at half-time.

In the 31st minute, Japan drew level, thanks to Kota Watanabe's strike. Nevertheless, three minutes later, Shamsher Singh restored India's lead as the third quarter ended.

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In the final quarter, a great cross from Surender Kumar allowed Nilakanta Sharma to double the lead by firing in the fourth before Varun Kumar's pass allowed Gurjant to fire in the fifth and triple the lead in the 56th minute. Although Kazuma Murata scored the third for Japan three minutes later, it was nothing more than a consolation, as India took the game 503.

India would now look forward to the quarterfinal with this win. It takes on Great Britain on Sunday.

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