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China and Korea pool winners at Women’s Asia Cup
06 Sep 2007 18:07

China and Korea are the only two teams that remained undefeated at the Women’s Asia Cup in Hong Kong. China took the victory of Pool A by a win over India (4-2). Korea tops the leader board in Pool B after a 4-1 victory over Japan.

By Mike Field, Media Officer Asia Cup

Korea – Japan 4-1

Korea tonight threw down the gauntlet to Cup favourites in no uncertain terms with a stunning 4-1 victory over arch East Asian rivals Japan at Kings Park.

The Korean power and pace coupled with pin point accurate passes proved just too much for the Japanese to cope with. The  lightning quick Korean breakouts proved particularly deadly and at times had the Japanese defence all at sea.  

As expected the pool B clash started at a cracking pace.

But it was Japan who started with a lightning quick blitzkrieg style attack straight down the middle on the Korean goal at the opening whistle that nearly caught the Koreans off guard.

As play settled down, the Koreans began to take control and in the 7th minute forced the games' first penalty corner  corner that saw the shot at goal by Korea's ace striker  Cheon Seul Ki blocked by Japanese goalkeeper Yuka Yoshikawa.

The Korean pressure paid off in the 18th minute with Japan conceding a penalty corner that was converted by Cheon with a flick high into the right corner of the net.

But Japan responded immediately forcing Korean goal keeper Lim Ju Young  to charge almost to the edge of the circle to block an almost point blank drive from Japan's Tomomi Komori and then almost immediately Yukari Yamamoto unleashed a fierce drive to hit the Korean crossbar.

That was the last major Japanese attack of the Korean goal and in the 34th minute Park Mi Hyun scored a superbly taken field goal coming from a free hit outside the Japanese circle to make the score 2-0 to Korea as the match went into half time.

Japan went on the offensive at the resumption but again it was a Korean breakout by Park Mi Hyun down the right that found Kim Mi Seon unmarked inside the Japanese circle. Kim made no mistake with a shot that beat the Japanese keeper Yuka Yoshikawa hands down to make score 3-0 to Korea.

And from then on it was always going to be an uphill battle for Japan to come back into the match.

To their credit the Japanese side never capitulated and scored a consolation goal from a penalty corner converted by Keiko Miura in the 55th minute.

And then after Japanese keeper Yoshikawa made a  fine save from a Korean penalty corner in the 59th minute, the Koreans put the issue beyond any doubt with a penalty corner converted by Kim Dae Rae to make the score 4-1 to Korea. The Koreans could have netted another field goal just two minutes from full time when Han Hye Lyoung's reverse stick shot went wide with just the Japanese goal keeper Yoshikawa to beat.  

China – India 4-2

Tournament favourites China beat a determined Indian side 4-2 in a highly charged pool A match played before a capacity crowd at Kings Park Hockey Ground to take pole position in the pool.

But it did not come easy as underdogs India played to their own strength and slowed the game down particularly in the first half. This tactic tended to unsettle China as the Indians matched the favourites for stick work and hockey skills that brought 2 goals to India in the first session.

As expected China used their very definite pace and power advantage from the outset and opened the scoring in the 4th minute with a field goal scored by Li Hong Xia following a goalmouth melee.

But India were not long in replying after Surinder Kaur broke down the left hand side and beat the China defence with superb stick work to put the ball on Jasjeet Kaur's stick who made no mistake with her shot that levelled the scores in the 7th minute.

India's best passage of play in the game then followed as the pace slowed to their liking. Also China missed several opportunities with 2 shots hitting the upright and then going out of play.

The partisan Indian crowd watching the game almost went ballistic when Saba Anjum netted India's second goal from open play after Surinder Kaur made yet another run down the left to make the score 2-1 to India.

But the Chinese continued to use their superior pace and power and were rewarded in the 33rd minute when Tang Chun Ling converted a penalty corner to level the scores at 2 goals each as the teams went into the half time break.

After the resumption of play China continued to use their superior pace to advantage as the Indians showed signs of tiring. And in the 47th minute Zhou Wan Feng put China back into the lead when she converted a penalty corner.

Then Tang Chun Ling scored her second of the match from open play to put the issue beyond doubt and give China a well deserved 4-2 win.

India now face the formidable Koreans in Saturday's first semi final with China up against Japan in the second.

Malaysia – Thailand 7-0

Malaysia went into this pool A fixture against Thailand as overwhelming favourites given the Thais lack of international experience.

But from the opening whistle of the game it was immediately apparent that Thailand was not going to lie down against the 5th ranked side in the competition. The Malaysians are known the region as a physical side and to see the Thai players giving as good as they received in the early encounters in the match was an eye opener.

As expected Malaysia went on the offensive early and scored 2 goals in the first half through Kannagi Arumugam and Siti Ramah Othman in the 6th and 21st minutes. The Thai defence held up well throughout the half with goal keeper Jesdaporn Tongsun putting in an impressive performance to keep the half time score down to just 2-0 in favour of Malaysia.

But midway through the second half the lack of experience began to show as Thailand wilted under sustained pressure from Malaysia. And inevitably the score began to mount as the Malaysian forwards started to punch holes in the tired Thailand defence with the third Malaysian goal coming in the 48th minute when Nadia Abdul Rahman converted a penalty corner.

Malaysia managed score four more goals in the closing stages of the match to make the final score 7-0.

For the competition starved Thais the results in the tournament to date have been impressive with players not afraid to stand up to the big guns in all their games. 

Malaysia have finished third in pool A behind India and China  with Thailand 4th. Malaysia  face bottom ranked Chinese Taipei from pool B in Saturday's opening classification match while Thailand will play Hong Kong who finished 3rd in pool B.      

Results Women’s Asia Cup Thursday 6 September 2007:

Pool A:
China – India 4-2
Malaysia – Thailand 7-0

Ranking: 1. China 4-12 (41-2), 2. India 4-9 (40-4), 3. Malaysia 4-6 (12-13), 4.. Singapore 4-1 (2-38), 5. Thailand 4-1 (2-40).

Pool B:
Korea – Japan 4-1

Ranking: 1. Korea 3-9 (29-1), 2. Japan 3-6 (27-4), 3. Hong Kong 3-3 (2-33), 4. Chinese Taipei 3-0 (1-21).

Please click here for direct access to the special Women's Asia Cup website.

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