Defending champions India suffered its second defeat to go out of hunt for the gold medal finish in the Asia Cup for Women’s Hockey Tournament at Muscat on Wednesday. Indian women lost 2-3 to Korea on a day when the hockey fans back home were expecting a pleasant Republic Day gift from them.
Korea will now play the Asian Games champion Japan.
Japan overcame a stiff resistance from China before emerging 2-1 winner. In fact, spirited Chinese put everything into their game dominating most of the time in ball possession and penetrative moves. After taking lead in the 18th minute, they put up a tough resistance before conceding an equalizer in the 24th minute and the decisive goal in the 50th minute.
Now China will play India for the bronze medal.
Earlier, India was beaten by the Asian Games champion Japan 0-2 in a pool game.
In other games, Thailand by Singapore 1-0 and Malaysia trounced Indonesia 6-0.
After a rest day, Indian women started well by going on the offensive from the beginning. Pressure tactics bore results as India took the lead in the 28th minute through an opportunist goal by Neha.
The Koreans changed the complexion of the game in the second half by not only negating all attempts by their opponents but also building good penetrating moves. Their efforts were rewarded with immediate success. In the 31st minute, Eunbi Cheon restored parity with a brilliant goal that surprised the Indian custodian.
Elated at their success in restoring parity, the Koreans attacked with more vigour and purpose. Seung Ju Lee made it 2-1 for them with a goal that had caught the entire Indian defence on the wrong foot. Instead of clearing the ball from a goalmouth melee following a penalty corner, the Koreans managed to guide the ball home.
Two minutes into the fourth and final quarter, Hyejin Cho lobbed the ball past diving Indian goalie to score her team’s third goal.
A late rally to stage a comeback in the game saw Lalremsiami tapping a rising ball into the goal in the 54thminute. The Koreans held onto the 3-2 lead to book their place in the gold medal match.