18-Nov-2017

Asia Cup Hockey: Indian women beat defending champions Japan 4-2 to make final

NEW DELHI: The Indian women's team has reached the final of the 2017 Asia Cup, beating hosts and defending champions Japan 4-2 in a closely contested semi-final in Kakamgigahara on Friday to set up a rematch of the 2009 summit clash against China.
 
Goals from Gurjit Kaur (7th, 9th minutes), Navjot Kaur (9th) and Lalremsiami (38th) underlined India's victory, which took them to a fourth Asia Cup final; India won the title in 2004 and finished runners-up in 1999 and 2009.
 
Rani Rampal's team will face China in the final on Sunday, November 5 - having beaten them 4-1 in the league stage just a few days ago.
 
Not surprisingly, given her superb form, it was Gurjit who gave India their first goal by converting a penalty corner in the seventh minute. In the ninth minute, that scoreline became 2-0 as Navjot added a fine field goal and Gurjit slotted in her second goal of the match.
 
Japan did not sit idle for long, however, and recovered to make it 2-3 at half-time. Shiho Tsuji opened Japan's account in the 17th minute, and 11 minutes later a field goal from Yui Ishibashi left the home fans cheering.
 
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 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.
 
India's opponents in Sunday's final, China, are two-time winners of the Asia Cup in 1989 and 2009. In the 2009 final, China beat India 5-3. The winner of this year's edition will qualify for the 2018 World Cup in England.