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Asian Games 2018: India women settle for silver after losing 2-1 against Japan in hockey final

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The India women’s team settled for a silver after losing 1-2 against Japan in the hockey finals of the 18th Asian games in Jakarta on Friday.

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A gold at the Asiad will have guaranteed India a direct entry into the 2020 Olympics but the defeat means the women’s team continued to wait for the elusive title ever since their championship win in the inaugural edition in 1982.

Neha Goyal scored the lone goal for India in the 25th minute after Minami Shimizu had given Japan the lead as early as the 11th minute. Motomori Kawamura then scored the winning goal in the final minute of the third quarter to hand her side their maiden title win in the intercontinental event.

India dominated the possession but lacked the finishing touch despite making several inroads into the Japan box. They had earlier qualified for the final after a gap of 20 years, following their 1-0 victory over three-time champions China in the semi-finals.

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Their first big opportunity came in the fourth minute when Navneet Kaur found herself in a favourable position getting to the end on skipper Rani Rampal’s pass, before failing to make a shot. Minutes later India earned their first penalty corner but drag-flicker Gurjit Singh could not beat the Japanese goalkeeper.

The missed opportunities hurt them big when Japan scored from their first penalty corner of the match as Shimizu put the ball in, scoring to the left of Indian custodian Savita.

Down by a goal, India pressed high and increased their tempo for the equaliser, eventually scoring through Neha, who pounced on a deflection after Navneet’s reverse-hit had hit a Japanese defender.

The goal seemed to have increased India’s confidence and they looked the better side in the this quarter coming close through Navjot Kaur and Vandana Katariya, but Japanese goalkeeper was at her best in between the lines.

Soon, Japan took the lead again in the 44th minute from another penalty corner with Motomori scoring from a reverse hit.

India tried hard to bounce back but inconsistency and lack of the final touch hurt them big as Japan marched on to their first Asiad title victory.

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