But that lead lasted really short as Japan countered with a superb team build-up and equalising the score in the next minute.
However, Japan, who suffered in all five matches during their campaign of Hockey World League semifinal round, were rendered helpless against India - the world's sixth-ranked side, who controlled the game nicely and scored one after another goal to leave the field with their heads held high.
The results: India 5 (S.V. Sunil 3, Lalit Upadhyay 22, Ramandeep 33, Harmanpreet Singh 35 & 48) bt Japan 1 (Kenji Kitazato 4); Pakistan bt Bangladesh 7-0.
Pakistan are all set to launch their campaign in the 10th Men's hockey Asia Cup by taking on hosts Bangladesh today (Wednesday) at Maulana Bhashani Hockey Stadium in Dhaka. In the next minute, Harmanpreet then led the team with example and converted a goal from penalty corner.
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"We have part-time players who assembled just before the Asia Cup because they had to study and work". In 22nd minute, Lalit Upadhyay executed some world class ball play and scored a brilliant goal, putting India ahead again. Meanwhile, he applauded the work of PHF to revive hockey in Pakistan.He congratulated the PHF for organising such a colorful tournament featuring 11 global goalkeepers. India and Japan were level 1-1 after the end of first quarter.
The group also consist hosts Bangladesh and arch-rival Pakistan.
"The opening match is always challenging because we need to get over early nervousness and find our rhythm". But it remains to be seen how Indian team will fare in the rest of the competition under the tutelage of newly appointed coach Sjoerd Marijne.