India's profligate performance cost them dearly as they missed numerous chances and were held to a 1-1 draw by a resolute Japan in their second match of the ongoing Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium in Chennai on Friday.
Japan's Ken Nagayoshi opened the scoring in the 28th minute, putting India on the back foot. However, India's skipper Harmanpreet Singh saved the day with a penalty corner conversion in the 43rd minute to level the score.
In their opening match, India had displayed their prowess by defeating China 7-2.
The first quarter was engaging, with India displaying an attacking mindset. Despite enjoying positive possession and creating scoring opportunities, both teams failed to find the back of the net. Japan had to make a player substitution due to an injury, while India earned seven penalty corners in the quarter but couldn't convert any of them.
The intensity remained high in the second quarter, and Jugraj Singh was green-carded in the 27th minute. Soon after, Japan was awarded a penalty corner, which Nagayoshi converted successfully to give his team the lead.
After halftime, India played with technical finesse and relentless energy, using aerial balls to advance their attack. Japan's defense remained steadfast, but India managed to earn a penalty corner in the 43rd minute, and this time, Harmanpreet made no mistake, driving the ball hard into the net to equalize.
The final quarter saw both teams adopt an attacking style of play. India earned a penalty corner in the 55th minute, but Japan's successful video referral overturned the decision. Shortly after, Mandeep Singh received a yellow card.
Despite earning a total of 15 penalty corners compared to Japan's two, India couldn't capitalize on their opportunities.
With a day's break, India will face Malaysia on Sunday, while Japan takes on Pakistan on the same day. The teams will be eager to make their mark and secure their positions in the prestigious tournament.