Donghae: India and Korea secure wins on the opening day of the tournament. India defeated Japan by 4 – 1 thanks to a hattrick from Navneet Kaur. In the second match, Korea defeated Malaysia by 3-1.
The day started with the reigning champions India taking on Japan. The hat-trick hero put India in front in the 7th minute of the match with a tap-in towards the goal after the ball fumbled behind the attacking Japanese goalkeeper. Japan kept possession towards the end of the first quarter but a stringent Indian defense line kept their discipline and refused circle penetrations. Navneet Kaur doubled the lead for India in the 25th minute with a clinical finish into the top right corner of the goal at the end of an inch-perfect pass by Vandana Katariya. Japan won three back-to-back penalty corners in the second quarter, however, failed to convert any of them. The score remained 2-0 at the end of the third quarter. A brilliant link-up between the Indian attackers saw them increase their lead to 3-0 when Anupa Barla deflected the ball goalwards in the 52nd minute. Shortly after, Navneet Kaur completed her hattrick at the end of the counter-attack, initiated after a Japanese penalty corner. Aki Yamada pulled one back for team Japan to make it 4-1 in the 58th minute.
Player of the match, Navneet Kaur, said, “Our goal is to win this tournament and prepare ourselves for the upcoming World Cup”.
In the second match of the tournament, the host nation defeated a young Malaysian side. Malaysia took the lead in the third quarter after Nurul Mansur converted from the penalty corner. Korea was quick to respond and Lee Yuri scored from the short-corner two minutes later. Hyunji Kim gave Korea the lead in the 43rd minute after which Korea remained in control of the game. Malaysia came close to equalizing but saw the ball hit the goal-post after a well-struck penalty corner. Korea took the game out of Malaysia’s reach after Bomi Kim scored in the 55th minute.
Korea will play Japan in the first match of day two of the event followed by a match between Malaysia and, Asian number 1 team, China. Both matches will be streamed live on youtube for followers and fans to watch.