Defending champions India got off a perfect start against Japan in the opening encounter of the Asian Champions Trophy 2018.
The Indian girls dominated the match and created numerous chances. The speedy Indian forward-line dissected the Japanese defence at will, and Navneet Kaur scored a hattrick to win the player of the match.
The Indian defence was calm and disciplined ensuring that the Japanese strikers were kept a safe distance away from the Indian citadel. The passing was accurate, as was India's ability to control the game in midfield.
Sjoerd Marijne thus had an ideal start to his second stint with the Indian women and acknowledged that their performance had indeed surpassed his expectations.
"I am happy with the win and I did not expect the girls to score four goals," said the Dutchman who is back with the team after eight months.
The Indians cannot afford to rest on their laurels, however, for next up are the Chinese girls who are perched at No.8, a couple of notches above India in the FIH rankings.
Despite the rankings, however, India has got the better of its Asian rival thrice over the last couple of years.
China beat eventual champions India 3-2 in the group stages of the 2016 Asian Champions Trophy.
Since then, however, the scales have tilted remarkably. The Indian girls turned the tables on the Chinese in the final of the same event at Singapore courtesy of a last-minute goal from Deepika Thakur.
The 2-1 win was considered to be a landmark event and was the dawn of a new chapter for women's hockey in India.
India reaffirmed their Asian supremacy to beat China in last year's Asia Cup final via a penalty shootout and thus qualified for the World Cup later this year.
In the group stages of the same event at Kakamigahara, India had prevailed 4-1 over the Chinese.
Notwithstanding the recent record, Sunita Lakra and her team will be wary of their Chinese counterparts who have started their campaign with a comprehensive 3-1 win over Malaysia.
India has done exceedingly well in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games and will look to carry the momentum forward against their old continental adversaries.
All the information that you need to follow the action:
Tournament name: 5th Women's Asian Champions Trophy 2018
Match: India vs China
Venue: Donghae City (Korea)
Date: 16 May 2018
Time: 1 pm (IST)
Broadcast: No telecast
Live-stream: YouTube (Channel: itop21sports)
Live Updates: SportskeedaPublished 16 May 2018, 02:45 IST