Hockey: Green-shirts to meet Japan today in Asia Cup

Sports       by Sarfraz Ali | Published

After the termination of Roelant Oltmans' contract, many thought that new coach Sjoerd Marijne would find it a bit hard initially to find the right chemistry from the team.

Pakistan needlessly dropped points in their second fixture of the 2017 Asia Cup as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Japan in Dhaka.

In the final 10 minutes, both teams tried their best to edge ahead but a victor was not to be found.

"I do agree that more goals would have come but Bangladesh played defensively and that caused the speed to come down but we did have chances which we couldn't convert", said Indian coach Sjoerd Marinje.

Goalkeepers Akash Chikte and Suraj Karkera retained their spots whereas defenders Harmanpreet Singh and Surender Kumar make a return after being rested for the Europe Tour.

Manpreet Singh led Indian team continued to build on their dominating start with impressive speed, tactically passing the ball in the midfield and worked some effortless moves to penetrate Bangladesh's circle. India found the net in quick time with Akashdeep Singh extending the lead after brilliant SV Sunil's pass in the 11th minute.

"I don't think our penalty corner conversation is bad".

"Our management has changed and I am confident we will put up a good show where hockey lovers from across the world will enjoy the match", expressed the 27-year-old. India beat Japan comfortably with a score of 5-1 on the opening day followed by a 7-0 drubbing of Bangladesh 2 days later.

Back then India had emerged triumphant by a whooping 6-1 margin, if India's start to Asia Cup is any indication then another thrashing is on the cards.

France are the 14th team to achieve men's World Cup qualification, joining hosts India, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, Ireland, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan and Spain at the 16-nation event. Pakistan have won the Asia Cup thrice, so they are also considered one of the favourites.

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