A third straight emphatic victory eluded the Indian women’s junior hockey team as they were handed their first loss in the Junior Asia Cup by China. The Indian eves were confident going into their third match in the tournament, but their Chinese counterparts proved too strong, with the final score reading 2-4 in favour of the latter.
After two absolute routs of DPR Korea (13-0) and Singapore (12-0) in their first two outings, the Indian eves were positive going into their match against hockey powerhouse China. But China were quick to execute their strategy, as one of their marquees, Gu Bingfeng, struck twice in ninety seconds, early in the match. The minutes hand hadn’t moved much when Guo Qiu scored once again for China.
An Indian retaliation was repeatedly stifled by the technically superior hosts, but their perseverance paid off as Jaspreet Kaur converted a penalty corner just before the first half ended. At half-time, the scorecard read India 1-3 China.
Defensive stalemates pervaded the opening minutes of the second half until Guo Chenyang pierced the Indian lockdown to find the net in the 50th minute. With fifteen minutes left, Gurjit Kaur scored India’s second goal. The Chinese defence did not afford India any gaps and the match ended with China four goals to India’s two.
With this victory, China top Pool A and have qualified for the semifinals. The other match today saw Malaysia overcome an early surge from DPR Korea to win 3-2. The crowd was stunned as early as the third minute, as Korean Pak Un Hyang converted a penaly corner in the third minute. Malaysia did not look favorites as they struggled to find their rhythm, but Nuraslinda Said managed to pull one back just before the first half ended.
A scrappy Korean team did not allow the Malaysians any rest in the second half, as evidenced by the latter failing to capitalise on a numerical advantage as Ri Kyol Sim was handed a yellow card in the 46th minute. The Malaysian offense cohesed towards the fag end of the match, as Fatin Sukri converted a penalty corner and Nuraslinda Said completed a brace. The irrepressible Koreans persisted and Pak Un Hyang converted another penalty corner, but Malaysia had done enough to secure victory.
The win place Malaysia third in Pool A, with India second and China on top. Malaysia and India will face off tomorrow, with the former needing a victory to ensure a semifinal berth. India can either draw or win to advance to the semis.