Ipoh [Malaysia], May 3 : Forward Mandeep Singh struck a brilliant hat-trick as the Indian men's hockey team edged past Japan 4-3 in their fourth round-robin league encounter of the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh on Wednesday.
Rupinder Pal Singh put his side ahead as early as in the eighth minute by converting a penalty corner into the goal.
However, Japan, ranked 16th in the men's game, soon made amends when they equalised the score via Kazuma Murata just two minutes before the end of first quarter.
In the second quarter, both the teams pushed hard to increase their lead but none of them succeeded in their efforts as the two sides went into the third quarter locked at 1-1.
In the 43rd minute, Heita Yoshihara put his side ahead by smashing a lovely low cross at the far post before Genki Mitani made it 3-1 by scoring a goal just two minutes later.
With just 15 minutes left to the final whistle, Mandeep came out with a stupendous performance as he pulled back three goals in the 45th, 51st and 58th minutes to snatch away the victory from Japan's mouth.
Earlier, India had failed to replicate the performance they showcased against New Zealand and slumped to a 1-3 defeat against defending champions Australia.
India will now take on Malaysia in their next group clash of the tournament on Friday..