Asia Cup Hockey: Indian women team’s title hope dooms losing to Korea

India would now play against the loser of the second semi-final between Japan and China for the third-fourth place playoffs on Friday.

The Indian women’s hockey team’s aspirations of winning the tournament fades away as they lost to Korea in the semifinals. Korea beats India by 3-2 at the Sultan Qaboos Complex on Wednesday.

With this triumph, Korea has made its way to the finals of the continental event. It was a neck-to-neck game, India started well and took the lead in the 28th minute through Vandana Katariya before Korea made an outstanding comeback after the change of ends and scores thrice through captain Enubi Cheon (31st), Seung Ju Lee (45th), and Hyejin Cho (47th) to knock out the holders.

India would now play against the loser of the second semi-final between Japan and China for the third-fourth place playoffs on Friday.

Early, India gained a penalty corner in the first corner but Gurjit Kaur’s flick was saved by the Korean goalkeeper. Minutes after Shamila Devi’s reverse stroke from the top of the circle had flown inches over the goal.

Lalremsiami helped India in gaining a lead soon from the close range but the goal wasn’t permitted due to the foul inside the circle.

Seconds before the end of the first quarter, Vandana’s reverse stroke attempt was saved from close range by the Korean goalkeeper. The Indian team was close two times and by far were on the better side of the game, but unsuccessful in converting their hits into goals.

The Koreans looked threatening on the counter but the Indian defence was very strong. In the second quarter secured their first penalty corner but found it difficult to break the Indian defence as captain Savita made a double save.

Two minutes from the break, India secured back-to-back penalty corners, and this time Vandana scored with a rebound from the second set-piece, giving the defending champions a 1-0 lead at halftime.

After halftime, the Koreans came out with a completely different strategy and drew a uniformity in the 31st minute as Cheon scores a scrappy goal from a penalty corner after the prior shot was saved by Savita.

Later on, Korea surprises India by taking the lead through Lee. Two minutes into the fourth and final quarter, Korea had the game in their favour by 3-1 when Cho pushed the ball past an off-balance Savita after receiving a pass from Hyejeong Shin.

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