China will take on India in the Sunday’s final of the seventh Asia Cup in Bangkok, Thailand. On Friday, China beat the defending champion, Japan, by a solitary goal, while India recorded a stunning 3-2 victory over Korea to figure in the third final since inception.
By S. Thyagarajan
Both India and China have now ensured a spot for each in the BDO FIH World Cup in Rosario, Argentina in 2023. Japan and Korea will have another chance through one of the World Cup Qualifiers.
India produced a quality show this evening taking a 3-0 lead midway in the second half after leading 1-0 at half-time. The Indian defenders gave no room to the surging Koreans, but scored three splendid goals. The first by Jasjeet Handa came in the eighth minutes from a perfectly executed penalty corner.
Shortly after the break, Jasjeet produced another gem of a goal from the top of the circle and Rani Rampal unleashed a super reverse flick for the third goal.
The Koreans, not the ones to take defeat easily, fought tooth and nail. While India defended well in the penalty corners with goal-keeper Dipika Murty making splendid saves, supported well by Binita Toppo and Subdhadra Pradhan.
But the Koreans came back in waves and exerted enormous pressure. Eun Sil Kim scored from a penalty corner and within a minute came the second goal from Mihyun Park five minutes before the final whistle. Korea’s last two penalty corners surfaced after the regulation time but the Indian goal-keeper Murthy managed to stave off the attempts.
China eliminated the defending champion, Japan, and ensured a berth in the next year’s World Cup. The 1-0 victory in the semi-final of the Asia Cup was reduced to a classic duel between the Chinese forwards and Japan’s goal-keeper, Yuka Yoshikawa.
It was Yuka’s outstanding show under the bar that prevented China running away with a big win. The lone goal in the match came in the 27th minute. Fu Rong dribbled delectably to the rival zone and parted with the ball inches into the circle. And Zhao Yu provided the finishing touches with a thundering shot leaving Yuka somewhat bewildered by the angle and power.
That was the only defining moment for China. Thereafter, Yuka stood like solid bastion, saving every attempt—there were no less than half a dozen hits—to keep the margin at the same level. China had six penalty corners against the nil by Japan.
Results Asia Cup
China – Japan 1:0 (1:0)
India – Korea 3:2 (1:0)
Malaysia – Hong Kong 5:0 (4:0)
Kazakhstan – Singapore 2:1 (0:1)