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India beat Japan 5-1, finish fifth

Source: PTI
May 15, 2009 17:47 IST
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Striker Tushar Khandekar pumped in two late goals as defending champions India routed Japan 5-1 to finish a lowly fifth in the seven-nation Asia Cup hockey tournament in Kuantan (Malaysia) on Friday.

Khandekar (64th, 69th minutes) found the net twice for India, while Rajpal Singh (2nd minute), skipper Sandeep Singh (21st) and Prabhjot Singh (66th) scored a goal each for the winners. 

Sakamoto Hiroki (31st minute) was the lone scorer for Japan.

Though Japan had an upper hand in exchange of passes and attack in the initial stages of the match, India found the net at will, scoring twice in the first half and thrice in the last six minutes of the second session. 

Irrespective of the scoreline, India seemed nowhere near the best and their defence looked always under pressure. 

Having already made their exit from the medal race for the first time in the history of the tournament, India started on a positive note and gave Japan no time to settle down with Rajpal finding the net as early as in the second minute off Khandekar's cross from the right flank. 

The Indians asserted their authority in the midfield through Sardara Singh and Vikram Pillay and all their Japanese opponents could do was to mount sporadic attacks.

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