V.R. Raghunath again scored a brace as defending champion India posted a 3-1 win over a fighting Japan in an Asian Champions Trophy hockey match here on Friday.
Despite territorial dominance, India could not move the scoreboard due to poor shooting and soft attempts at goal.
It took 22 minutes for the Indians to break the logjam when Raghunath struck from second penalty corner.
Japan equalised through Koki Kayukawa in the 50th minute but India’s star striker Gurwinder Chandi replied in style in the next minute.
India, which earned three penalty corners before the close, got its third goal when Raghunath converted in the 59th minute.
India’s chief coach Michael Nobbs praised the Japanese for the good fight they put up. “They played really very well. Our defence 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 and it cost us. In fact we should have got 4, 5, goals more. I think we played easy,” Nobbs added.
Nobbs also disputed the penalty stroke that helped the rival to equalise. “Not much to say about umpiring. The stroke was not a correct one.
“The umpiring is of really poor standard and 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.