Bhubaneswar, 3 May 2015: The first match of the Indo Japan Series started with great speed and a determination to win. While Japan took the initial lead in the game and was leading the game 1-0, India came back into the game through a brilliant penalty corner conversion by VR Raghunath. Post the equalizer goal both the teams had their chances of going one up but failed to capitalize, resulting in the match getting drawn at 1-1. The game even marked the International debut for Harmanpreet Singh giving India the extra boost with his inclusion in the team.
The first quarter of the match saw both sides testing each other’s defense, while even trying to put pressure by capitalizing on the initial goal. As the quarter progressed both India and Japan maintained their attacks but were unable to score on the opportunities resulting in a dry run.
In the 19th minute a long pass by Hiroki Sakamoto to Daichi Kurogawa who was standing right in front of the goal box and who on his part deflected it into the nets giving no chance for the Indian goalie to react, resulting in Japan opening the scorecard 1-0. While this left the Indian men stunned but it did not deter their determination. Just five minutes left into the second quarter Japan again had a chance at the goal but this time PR Sreejesh cleared effortlessly. Minutes left into the quarter India increased its attack and Akashdeep tried put the ball into the nets through a backstroke but was saved by the Japan goalie. Unable to equalize the game at the end of first half Japan was leading the game 1-0.
Five minutes left into the third quarter India had a chance to score when a pass to Dharamvir Singh in the D was deflected towards the nets but unfortunately for India the Japan goalie saved. Same minute India again had a chance but Akashdeep failed to finish the touch, going on to lose the chance to score. In the 44th minute, India again had a chance through a penalty corner and VR Raghunath made no mistake in finding the nets and the equalizer goal for India. With game on at 1-1, it was anyone’s game from here.
The fourth quarter started with India immediately going into the attack as they looked at taking the lead in the game. Having another shot at the penalty corner but Rupinder Pal Singh was wide of the goal, losing the opportunity to go one up in the game. Post that both teams tried to cash on the half chances but failed to do so resulting in a 1-1 draw.