India’s 11th Asia Cup campaign so far have been nothing short of a disappointing recipe – a lukewarm 1-1 draw against against Pakistan and their cup of woes were overflowing after a tame 2-5 defeat to rapidly-improving Japan at the GBK Stadium in Jakarta. Hardly had the Indians settled into any kind of rhythm, Japan drew first blood via a shortie conversion by Ken Nagayoshi in the opening quarter and from then on, it was India who had to do all the ‘chasing’.
Kosei Kawabe’s third quarter strike knocked the stuffing out of India – although India responded with goals from Pawan Rajbhar and Uttam Singh, Japan had by then inflicted far too much damage on the Birendra Lakra-captained Indian side. The defending champions are now in peril of not even making it to the Super 4S as they languish at 3rd spot in Pool with Japan and Pakistan occupying the top two spots in Pool A with 6 and 4 points respectively.
India can only hope that Japan goes on to beat Pakistan in their last league game and they score a big win over hosts Indonesia. Even a big win over Indonesia may not be enough for India – if Pakistan beat Japan or if both teams settle for a draw, India would take an early flight back home. And they can’t crib about facing such a plight for they have been frustrating to watch in the first two games.