Asian Games 2018: India women beat China 1-0 to reach first hockey final in 20 years
The Indian women’s hockey team entered the final of the 18th Asian Games for the first time in 20 years after overcoming three-time champions China 1-0 in a fiercely-fought semi-final match in Jakarta on Friday.
Drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur scored the winning goal eight minutes before the final whistle to ensure India’s entry into the final for the first time since 1998 when they lost 1-2 against South Korea. It will also be just the third time ever since hockey was introduced at the intercontinental event in 1982 that Indian will be playing in the final. Their only title came in the inaugural edition in 1982.
India will next face Japan – who upset South Korea 2-0 in the second semi-final – in the summit clash in what will be their third final appearance at the Asiad.
They started well earning their first penalty corner in the eight-minute but Gurjit’s shot was parried away by Chinese goalkeeper.
Then Navjot Kaur came close in the 13th minute finding the ball in front of an empty net but failed to put the ball in as China on the other earned their first penalty corner of the match.
Zixia Ou stepped up and fired a low powerful shot that deflected out off an Indian defender.
Chances came few and far in between but India was wasteful, with Gurjit especially missing two back-to-back penalty corner, one of which was a tame attempt while the other failed to reach the target.
But with the game still goalless in the final quarter, India earned another penalty corner, their fifth in the match and Gurjit was lucky this time, finding the net with a powerful strike that flew past the Chinese goalkeeper.
India will, however, not be pleased with the victory given their lack of creating chances.
“The team surely did not play to its potential in the first half. They stepped up in the second half and I am really happy for these girls. I know how much work they put up to be here. They trained really hard for this event. Japan will be a tough challenge but the team is up for it,” head coach Sjoerd Marijne was quoted as saying by PTI.