Hockey Asia Cup 2017: Indian eves to take on China in finals

ANI | Updated: Nov 04, 2017 11:47 IST

Hockey Asia Cup 2017: Indian eves to take on China in finals .

Kakamigahara [Japan], November 4 (ANI): The Indian women's hockey team will lock horns with an unpredictable China in the finals of the 2017 Asia Cup here here at the Kakamigahara Kawasaki Stadium on Sunday .

Yesterday, India came up with a splendid over-all performance to defeat defending champions Japan in the semi-finals and book their place in the summit showdown .

It was goals by Gurjit Kaur (7th , 9th minutes), Navjot Kaur (9th minute) and Lalremsiami (38 minute) that ensured India sailed into the Final on Sunday . The Indian team will face-off against an unpredictable China who they had earlier beaten 4-1 in the league stage .

India got off to a rollicking start as they won back-to-back penalty corners to put pressure on the host nation . Dragflicker Gurjit Kaur fetched India 1-0 lead in the seventh minute when she improvised the injection to send the ball past Japanese goalkeeper Akio Tanaka . In the 9th minute Navjot Kaur doubled India's lead when she struck a field goal via a perfect assist by forward Vandana Katariya .

Almost immediately, India won a penalty corner and Gurjit was yet again on target as she took India's lead to a strong 3-0 in the 9th minute . India won another penalty corner before going into the first hooter but this one was well-saved by Tanaka .

While the first quarter belonged to India, the defending champions Japan made a strong comeback after the first break . They launched a strong attack only to find space in India's circle and send one past in-form goalkeeper Savita . It was Shiho Tsujii who scored the field goal in the 17th minute to narrow the goal deficit to 1-3 . The next few minutes saw India's defence put to test as a stubborn Japanese attack persisted for breakthroughs . Yui Ishibashi gave India the jitters when she converted a field goal to close the gap to 2-3 in the 28th minute . Though minutes before this goal, India were awarded a penalty corner, the strike went slightly wide off the post denying India their fourth goal .

India needed to play cautiously and not make impulsive decisions . This is exactly what they did after the 10-minute break at halftime that helped them device a strategy to defend the lead . While Japanese goal was warded off with a brilliant save by Savita when they were awarded a penalty corner at the start of the third quarter, India's young gun Lalremsiami scored a sensational field goal to register a 4-2 lead for India in the 38th minute . The final 15 minutes of the match continued to remain tense as Japan won two penalty corners but Savita was impeccable in her efforts to guard the post . She ensured India stayed in the lead and eventually cemented a place for the final match on Sunday with a 4-2 win .

It should be noted that India had earlier defeated China 4-1 in the league stage of the tournament .(ANI)