Asian Games 2023 Hockey Results Day 12:  Indian women go down fighting 0-4 against China in Hangzhou semifinal

Hockey - Commonwealth Games: Day 8
The Indians were outplayed by an aggressive Chinese side

The Indian women's hockey team went down fighting 0-4 against an aggressive and cohesive Chinese side in the semifinals of the Asian Games on Thursday, October 5.

Janneke Schopman's chargers were on the back foot right from the outset against the hosts who pressured the Indians off the ball in midfield, failed to yeild space in and around the attacking circle, and were on target with their short corners.

The Indians will now play the loser of the second semifinal between Japan and South Korea in the Asian Games women's hockey bronze medal match to be played on October 7.

The Chinese began the contest like a team in a hurry as they stormed the Indian circle time and again while not allowing the Indian defenders to settle.

The Indians gave away possession in midfield repeatedly against the home team who tackled aggressively while also falling back into defence to deny the Indian strikers maneuverable space upfield.

The Women in Blue were lucky to come away with a goalless scoresheet at the end of the first quarter but failed to stop Zhong Jiaqi from scoring off a PC (penalty corner) in the 25th minute.

Lapses in midfield from the likes of Sushila Chanu allowed the Chinese repeated access into the striking circle, with Zou Meirong scoring in the 40th minute after Savita Punia had managed to cover the angle for a Liang Meiyu shot.

The Indians earned a flurry of PCs late in the third quarter as well in the fourth. The ball found the back of the net twice but did not count as the shots were too high and deemed dangerous.

Liang Meiyu scored China's third goal in the 55th minute which sealed the deal for Alysson Annan's team just as the Indians were beginning to threaten the Chinese goal. Gu Bingfeng added to India's misery with another PC strike at the death.

India's new-look PC battery fails to come good in crucial Asian Games semifinal encounter

Deep Grace Ekka and the PC battery excelled in the pool stages but failed to come good against China
Deep Grace Ekka and the PC battery excelled in the pool stages but failed to come good against China

Converting short corners in crunch situations is what makes the world class drag flickers stand apart from the rest.

In the absence of Rani Rampal and Gurjit Kaur, India's new-look PC battery comprising Deep Grace Ekka, Navneet Kaur, Deepika, and Udita managed to come good in the pool stages of the Asian Games with some excellent conversions.

The Indians failed to manufacture any short corners in the first half against China but did so late in the third quarter. While the first PC was wasted, India earned a follow up short corner while deciding to try an elaborate routine and were pulled up for dangerous play despite the ball making it's way into the goal.

Early in the final quarter, the Indians finally hassled the Chinese defence and earned a PC for their efforts before yet another goal was disallowed as the ball was too high.

The Indians chose to go indirect while also not managing to outdo the PC defence with variations that were well-worked when they really needed to pull one back.

The Indian think-tank will clearly need to find a way to get a penalty corner specialist in the mould of Gurjit Kaur whose 52nd minute drag flick had helped India into the Asian Games final back in 2018.

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Edited by Luke Koshi
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