TAURANGA: India got off to a winning start in the double leg Four Nations Invitational Hockey Tournament, notching a comfortable 6-0 win against Japan at the Blake Park here on Wednesday. Rupinder Pal Singh (7th minute), Vivek Sagar Prasad 12th, 28th), Dilpreet Singh 35th, 45th) and Harmanpreet Singh (41st) scored in India’s win.The team got off to a dominant start, controlling the ball rather swiftly, passing around neatly and quickly to penetrate the Japanese circle.India won their first penalty corner of the game in the seventh minute and it was young gun Harmanpreet Singh who stepped up to drag flick. His attempt though was blocked by the Japanese defender on the line, but since the obstruction came off his body, India were awarded a penalty stroke. Experienced drag flicker Rupinder Pal Singh broke no sweat in converting a stunning goal to fetch India a 1-0 early lead. India’s second goal came in the 12th minute when debutant Vivek Sagar Prasad was quick to pick up a rebound and fiercely strike the ball past the Japanese goalkeeper earning India a 2-0 lead.The second quarter saw India defend their lead as they were unrelenting in creating pressure on Japan, pressing them high up constantly, rarely giving them an opportunity to enter India’s defence. Meanwhile, Vivek Prasad found another excellent opportunity in the 28th minute to score, as the Indian attackers broke into the Japanese defence. Vivek was swift to receive an assist in the circle and put the ball in the goal within no time. The teams went into the halftime break with India having a comfortable 3-0 lead.
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