Asian Games champion Japan added yet another feather to its cap by winning the Asia Cup for women defeating South Korea at Muscat on Friday. Earlier, India beat China by two first half goals to take the bronze.
All the four teams – Japan, Korea, India and China – have confirmed their berths in the 2022 Women’s World Cup to be hosted jointly by Spain and the Netherlands.
Japanese got three of their four goals through penalty corners. Two of these came from Kaho Tanaka in the 28th and 45th minute while the third conversion was by Mori Kanon (37th minute).
In fact, Japan staged a comeback as the Koreans were twice in the lead. At one stage, Japan was trailing 1-2.
In a fast-paced game, Koreans tried to match their opponents in every department of the game as they worked out excellent moves with proper coordination using gaps and spaces well. Though Japanese played to a game plan and put everything in their defence, a few slackening moments saw the Koreans taking advantage.
In the 12th minute, Korea forged ahead with a confident penalty corner conversion by Seung Ju Lee. Four minutes into the second half, Korea again took the lead, this time through a brilliant opportunism by Enubi Cheon.
After conceding lead for the second time, Japanese went all out and worked out excellent moves. Working out like a well-oiled machine, the Asian Games champions left nothing to chance to add three goals in the second half to make sure of the gold medal.
Earlier, two penalty corner goals helped India to restore some of its lost prestige. Though the first goal saw Sharmila Devi just sliding the ball home after a powerful grounder by Gurjit Kaur had beaten the Chinese goalkeeper. The first goal came in the 12th minute.
Seven minutes later, Gurjit Kaur, with a precise flick saw the Chinese goalkeeper just deflecting the ball into her own goal.
Indians defended the 2-0 lead stoutly without allowing their opponents any clear look at their goal. Though there were some exciting exchanges with both sides building good moves, no further goals followed.
Final standings: Japan 1, Korea 2, India 3, China 4, Malaysia 5, Thailand 6, Singapore 7 and Indonesia 8.