The Indian Women’s Hockey Team on Sunday defeated rival Japan in the opening game of the Women’s Asian Championship Trophy being played in Donghae City of South Korea.
The victory is important as no one expected the game to be one-sided. Japan had never been an easy opponent for the Indian squad. Before the game, Skipper Sunita Lakra had said, “We have always had tough competition against Japan. They are a quality team and breaking their defence early in the match will be crucial for us.”
It was Navneet Kaur whose Midas touch titled the game completely in favour of the women in blue. She struck her first goal in the seventh minute of the game. Kaur scored her second goal in the twenty-fifth minute of the game and India went to halftime break with a 2-0 lead.
The match was suspended for some time owing to heavy rains. When the game resumed the Japanese team tried their best to score but were well defended by the Indian players.
The fourth quarter saw two back to back goals scored by Anupa Barla in the 53rd minute and Navneet Kaur in the 55thminute giving India a mammoth lead of 4-0.
Aki Yamada was able to score a goal for Japan in the final minutes of the game.
India won the game 4 goals to 1.
Indian coach Sjoerd Marijne was elated with the performance but said the team could have scored more goals.
“I have been with the women’s team before and they have definitely improved a lot. I didn’t expect to score four goals but (the way we played) we could have scored more goals,” he said after the match.
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