India continued its unbeaten run with a comprehensive 5-0 win against Korea in its last league match on Thursday to stay on top of the table at the Jharkhand Women’s Asian Champions Trophy Ranchi 2023, dominating the opponents and setting up a rematch in the semifinal.
In fact, the knockout games on Saturday will be a repeat of Thursday’s fixtures with China and Japan facing off yet again in the other semifinal while Malaysia and Thailand will battle for the fifth spot.
For a team sitting pretty at the top with little to lose, India came out all guns blazing, taking Korea by surprise. Its attacking and aggressive play gave no breathing space for the Asian Games silver medalist.
India was intense, relentless and unstoppable and squeezed the Koreans every time it managed to get the ball – which wasn’t too often – there was a desperation to get back possession and it was refreshing to see the host being proactive on the turf rather than being reactive to the situation.
India controlled the pace of the game and Korea constantly played catch-up.
It had an easy chance early on before being denied by a desperate clearance by Yuri Lee on the goalline but it was only a matter of time before the host stuck, with Salima Tete providing the finishing touch to Sangita Kumari’s brilliant work on the left flank.
A couple of penalty corners (PCs) went to waste before India continued in the same vein post break, Salima and Sangita combining again and Navneet Kaur’s powerful hit off India’s 3rd PC beating everyone as India struck twice within a minute to go up 3-0.
Vandana Katariya and Neha Goyal completed the tally.
China, meanwhile, leapfrogged into the second spot: a successful penalty corner conversion by Bingfeng Gu in the eighth minute was enough for a narrow 1-0 win against Japan that saw both teams tied on points, goals scored and conceded, resulting in China edging ahead courtesy its victory on Thursday.
Earlier, Malaysia beat Thailand 2-0 for its first win in the tournament.
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