Women's Asia Cup 2017: India Edge China to Lift Title & Seal 2018 World Cup Berth
The Indian women's hockey team edged out China in the final of the Asia Cup 2017 to clinch the gold medal after 13 long years, at Kakamigahara in Japan on Sunday.
Indian women's team celebrates after winning the title. (Hockey India Image)
New Delhi: The Indian women's hockey team edged out China in the final of the Asia Cup 2017 to clinch the gold medal after 13 long years, at Kakamigahara in Japan on Sunday.
This is India's second title in the history of the tournament, with their first top-placed finish coming in the year 2004. With this victory, the Indian team also booked a place at the 2018 World Cup in stunning style.
The 'Women in Blue' edged out their Chinese counterparts in the shoot-out after regulation time finished 1-1. But tt was advantage China right at the start as a stick check in the circle saw India concede a penalty corner in only the second minute of the game.
However, Savita was at her usual best to pad it away while an alert Deep Grace cleared the ball. Navjot Kaur came close to converting a field goal in the 17th minute but her diving effort was blocked even as skipper Rani made a quick attempt to find a deflection.
It was not until the 25th minute when India found its first breakthrough when Navneet Kaur and Rani played give-and-take before penetrating the circle only to assist Navjot who took a clear shot on goal.
It was a much-needed 1-0 lead for India. Though China launched a counter attack soon after, the Indian defenders were up to the task in denying them success. On China's part, they stayed disciplined in their defence to deny India a chance to score through a penalty corner.
The final quarter was tense as China won a penalty corner through a successful video referral in the 47th minute. Tiantian Luo kept low as she improvised from the injection to find the right corner of the post, scoring a sensational equaliser for China.
China won their fourth penalty corner of the match with a little less than three minutes to go for the final whistle.
But it was brilliantly saved by rusher Sunita Lakra and almost immediately, India launched a counter attack but only to send the ball wide off the target and complete the full-time in a stalemate resulting in a shootout.
In the penalty shootout Rani scored twice while Monica, Lilima Minz and Navjot scored a goal each to ensure India reclaimed the Asia Cup title after 13 years. Savita was adjudged Goalkeeper of the Tournament while Monica won the Woman of the Match award.
((With IANS Inputs))
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