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Women's Asia Cup: India down China 2-0 to win bronze medal

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Muscat (Oman), Jan 28 (IANS) Drag flicker Gurjit Kaur and forward Sharmila Devi scored a goal apiece off penalty corners as India defeated China 2-0 to win the bronze medal in the Women’s Asia Cup hockey tournament here on Friday. This is

In a rematch of the 2017 final that India won in a shootout, Sharmila capitalised on a rebound off a penalty corner by Gurjit that was blocked by the Chinese defence, diverted the ball into the cage to make it 1-0 for India in the 13th minute.

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Six minutes later, India were 2-0 up as Gurjit blasted a powerful flick into the Chinese goal off another penalty corner.

India survived some strong attacks by China in the second half to secure their third bronze medal in the event. India have won the title twice and also lost the final as many times in the event.

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On Friday, it was a neck-and-neck battle at the start to the match with both teams trying to make inroads into each other’s striking circle, showcasing good attacking and defending skills. Both India and China created potential goalscoring opportunities and even earned themselves penalty corners, but both teams missed out on converting the chances.

However, in the 13th minute, India’s effort paid off as Sharmila found herself in the right spot to push the ball in the goal after Gurjit’s powerful drag-flick was stopped by the defence line, just before the hooter sounded to signal the end of the first quarter.

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Charged-up, the 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 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 every 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 counterattack, Salima Tete did get the opportunity, but her reverse flick was blocked by the Chinese defence.

China, who came out 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.

–IANS

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Asim Riaz

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