'Pakistan will make Asia Cup final'

'Pakistan will make Asia Cup final'

'Pakistan will make Asia Cup final'

In their first tournament under a new coach, India meant business and found the net in each quarter, twice in the third, to streamroll their less-fancied but tricky opponents SV Sunil (3rd minute), Lalit Upadhyay (22nd), Ramandeep Singh (33rd) and Harmanpreet Singh (35th and 48th) were on target.

India have defeated Japan by 5-1.

It was newly appointed coach Sjoerd Marijne's first test after Roelant Oltmans was sacked just before the tournament and he got the desired result.

"We need to provide them adequate facilities and training opportunities", he said, adding that as per law of the country all districts are bound to spend two percent of their total budget on sports.

Considering that Bangladesh suffered a humiliating 0-7 loss in their campaign opener against Pakistan yesterday, India will start as overwhelming favourites. The first match of Pool-B of Hockey Asia Cup will be played between Malaysia and China while South Korea will take on Oman in Dhaka on Thursday.

India will now play on Friday against hosts Bangladesh before taking on Pakistan on Sunday.

Skipper Manpreet didn't shy to call Japan a tough rival, though he assured his boys are "upbeat for the first challenge".

"The first match is always hard as the players need time to settle down".

The Indians last played Japan in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup earlier this year where they won the encounter 4-3. The Indians showcased elegant one-touch, short pass hockey and utilised both the flanks to perfection to set up their attacks. "We can never take Japan to be an easy team", the India skipper said.

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.

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