PANAJI: India signed off Asia Cup 2022 women’s hockey with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over China in the third/ fourth placing match in Muscat today. It was goals by Sharmila Devi (13′) and Gurjit Kaur (19′) that helped the Savita-led side end the continental tournament with the third-place finish.
It was a neck-and-neck start to the match, with both teams trying to make inroads in each other’s striking circle, showcasing good attacking and defending skills. Both India and China created potential goal-scoring opportunities and even earned themselves penalty-corners, but both teams missed out on converting it.
However, in the 14th minute, India’s effort paid off as young forward Sharmila found herself in the right spot to push the ball in the goal during Gurjit’s powerful drag flick, which got stopped by the defence-line while taking the penalty-corner, thus leading 1-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The charged-up Indian eves started the second quarter on an attacking note, and four minutes later they earned a penalty-corner, which was duly converted by Gurjit.
China, on the other hand, tried to look for an opportunity to reduce the deficit, and their efforts did get rewarded with a PC, but India captain Savita pulled off a remarkable save to deny the Chinese. Minutes later, Navneet got an opportunity to add the third goal in the scoreline, but narrowly missed the target from the right side of the goalpost.
After the ten-minute half-time break, China, who were trailing 0-2, started the third quarter on the front foot and piled pressure on India. India’s defence stood tall and denied China’s each attempt at the goal. The latter stage of the third quarter saw both teams fight for possession. China displayed a better attack and made inroads in India’s circle. However, the Indian defence soaked the pressure and successfully defended the Chinese threat to keep the scoreline 2-0 at the end of the third quarter.
At the start of the fourth quarter, China won yet another penalty-corner, but failed to convert it. During the counter-attack, Salima Tete did get the opportunity, but her reverse flick was blocked by the Chinese defence. China, who came all guns blazing, enjoyed the possession throughout the final quarter. They even earned three consecutive PC in the dying minutes, but a solid display by Indian defence helped the Indian eves secure third place in the Women’s Asia Cup 2022.