India was expected to romp home and the host duly obliged with a 7-1 win against Thailand in the women’s Asian Champions Trophy in front of a capacity crowd at the first ever international hockey action here on Friday.
Preceded by an extended fireworks display, the game saw the Indian women put on a show of their own but just like the fireworks, they took time to get going before steam-rolling the hapless Thai side. India had the possession and began aggressively but kept shooting astray.
Monika and Salima Tete put the team ahead despite all the missed chances Thailand put up a valiant defence and tried to keep the Indians at bay but it was largely a misfiring Indian forward line, failing to control the ball or its shots, that kept the score to a very respectable 3-1 at half time. Interestingly, this was the first ever goal scored by Thailand women against India.
The third quarter saw India finally shake it all off – the nerves, opposition and its own disconnect – to take control and expose the difference between the sides. Deepika smashed in an overhead to make it 4-1 and two goals within a minute by Sangita towards the end of the quarter sealed the result.
Lalremsiami, tireless through the game with her assists and constant overlapping, added one of her own to round off the tally. The only concern, if any, for the team would be its continued poor penalty corner conversion rate.
Earlier, Korea converted its only penalty corner for an early lead that it held on to till the end, avenging the Asian Games final defeat against China with a 1-0 win. China had possession, penetration, control and 10 penalty corners but could not find a way past the Korean defence and goalkeeper Eunji Kim. Defending champion Japan had a less-than-convincing 3-0 win against Malaysia.
The results: Japan 3 (Rika Ogawa, Mai Toriyama, Shiho Kobayakawa) bt Malaysia 0; China vs Korea (Sujin An); India (Sangita Kumari 3, Monika, Salima Tete, Deepika, Lalremsiami) bt Thailand 1 (Supansa Samanso).
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