The Japanese Men’s Hockey team notched a 3-1 win over Mexico in their opening match of the FIH Hockey Series Finals in Bhubaneswar today.
Mexico was the first to open the scoreboard courtesy of Erik Hernandez (3rd min), but Japan was quick to equalise thanks to a penalty corner goal by Hirotaka Zendana.
Shota Yamada converted a penalty corner in the 21st minute to hand Japan the lead before Hirotaka Zendana scored a brilliant goal through another penalty corner in the 24th minute to secure full three points for the Asian Gold Medallist team.
The match saw 26 year old Hirotaka Zendana who also won the Man of the Man making his 100th appearance.
Coach Siegfried Aikman, said his team still needs to learn to deal with pressure.
“It was not a good game. Mexico were the better team today and played really well. They deserved a better result,specially playing against a higher ranked team.”
“We need to learn to deal with pressure. Previously, we would enter a tournament as a lower ranked team. At this series, there are much lower ranked teams competing against us, so our mindset has to change. We need to work smart, not only hard.” Coach Siegfried said.
Japan will next play South Africa on June 8th at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium, while Mexico will take on USA.
The FIH Series Finals action continues in the evening with Russia taking on Uzbekistan at 5:00pm IST and Poland taking on hosts India at 7:00pm IST.