India sets up clash against China in Asia Cup hockey final
Kakamigahara: Continuing its splendid run, India today drubbed hosts Japan by 4-2 in the semi-final of 9th women’s Asia Cup here today to set a date with China for the final showdown.
The Indian eves rode on a brace from Gurjit Kaur and field goals from Navjot Kaur and Lalremsiami to advance to a fourth Asia Cup final. India won the title in 2004 and finished runners-up in 1999 and 2009.
Gurjit gave India a perfect start, successfully converting a penalty corner in the seventh minute before Navjot’s field goal in the ninth minute made it 2-0 for the tourists.
In the same minute, Gurjit inflated India’s lead to 3-0 with a brilliant field goal.
But Japan was no pushover. It managed to dominate the Indians in the second quarter and reduced the deficit to 2-3 through field goals from Shiho Tsujii (17′) and Yui Ishibashi (28′).
The third quarter saw Lalremsiami score her first goal of the tournament to put India ahead 4-2, and the defenders did well to keep the Japanese at bay thereon.
India entered the knockout stage of the tournament following big wins over Singapore 10-0, China 4-1 and Malaysia 2-0 to top their pool, and on Thursday defeated Kazakhstan 7-1 in the quarter-final.
On Sunday, India will aim to avenge their 3-5 loss to China in 2009 as the winner of this year’s edition will qualify for the 2018 World Cup in England.