Raghunath does it again

Drag-flicker nets brace as India register 3-1 win over Japan

 Drag-flicker V R Raghunath yet again scored a brace as defending champions India fought hard to post a 3-1 win over a fighting Japan in the Asian Champions Trophy hockey match here on Friday.

Vice-captain Raghunath struck in the 22nd minute but only to see Japan equalise in the 50th minute though a penalty stroke. Gurwinder Chandi put India in the lead again in the 51st minute before Raghunath completed the formalities in the 59th minute.
India had defeated China 4-0 in the opener on Thursday with Raghunath finding the net twice.

Despite the dominance, India could not open the account due to poor shooting. It took 22 minutes for the Indians to break the deadlock. Raghunath struck from second penalty corner to put India ahead.

Japan equalised in the second half through Koji Kayukawa but Gurwinder replied in style in the very next minute to put defending champions on top.

India earned three penalty corners on the trot in the last 10 minutes of which again Raghunath converted the third to place India comfortably. Japan goalkeeper Akira Morishima had an outstanding performance under the cage which made India’s task very difficult. India took Japan easily in the first half but showed enormous urgency in the second half which payed dividends.

Indian chief coach Michael Nobbs praised the Japanese for the good fight they put up. “They played really very well. Our defense was holding on to the ball for too long. We have to work on that, we don’t play that way, that’s not our style,” the Australian said.
“We committed a lot of silly mistakes. In fact we should have got four to five goals more. I think we played easy,” Nobbs added.

Nobbs also disputed the award of stroke to the Japanese side, helping the rivals to equalise. “Not much to say about umpiring. The stroke was not a correct one. The umpiring is really poor standard, the stroke wasn’t a correct one. Injuries will be there in the tournament, today Sunil got injured. It will be a very tough game against Malaysia,” he said.

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