New Delhi: India came up with an all-round performance to thrash China 4-1 in their second Pool A match of the womens hockey Asia Cup 2017 at the Kakamigahara Kawasaki Stadium here on Monday.
Goals by Gurjit Kaur (19th minute), Navjot Kaur (32nd), Neha Goyal (49th) and Rani (58th) ensured that India continued their winning momentum in the tournament. The team had previously beaten Singapore 10-0 in their opening match.
India were quick to get off the blocks, winning a penalty corner in the first 15 minutes to put China on the back foot. Though this was well defended by China, the second quarter saw India’s dragflick specialist Gurjit Kaur convert a splendid goal to give India a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute.
Both teams then played cautiously. While India rotated the ball with calm heads and made their way into the striking circle, China were strong on defence to deny India any success.
However, after the 10-minute half-time break, India came back strongly to score a field goal in the 32nd minute through Navjot to double their lead.
But a defensive error in the circle saw India concede a penalty corner in the 38th minute. China capitalised on this opportunity and narrowed the goal difference to 1-2 through Qiuxia Cui’s successful conversion.
The final few minutes of the match were tense with China pushing hard to equalise.
In the 49th minute, India won a crucial penalty corner and a clever variation saw Neha deflect the ball past the Chinese goalkeeper Jiao Ye to go ahead 3-1.
The final 10 minutes saw both teams trade penalty corners. While India won two and China one, both failed to convert. But the action didn’t end. Indian skipper Rani scored a sensational field goal in the 58th minute to give India a 4-1 lead and post a strong victory.
India will next face a strong Malaysia in their last Pool A match on Tuesday.