Bangkok (16 Dec, 2016): Shiho Kobayakawa scored four goals in defending champion Japan’s 13-0 victory over Singapore in the 4th Women Under-18 Asia Cup on Friday.
The Japanese had a fruitful day one action in their Group B encounter at the Bangkok Hockey Stadium. Apart from Shiho, midfielder Ayana Tamura nailed a hat-trick; Hina Matoba scored a brace whilst Rui Takashima, Kurumi Kobayashi, Kaho Tanaka and Kana Urata scored one goal apiece.
India, the inaugural 2001 champions and eying to win the trophy for the second time after a 15-year wait, downed Chinese Taipei 4-0 in Group A. Sangeta Kumari warmed up to the occasion with a hat-trick (37th, 45th and 65th minutes) after Leelavathy Mallamada Jaya scored the opener in the second minute.
“It was a great performance to get our tournament up and running. It was immensely satisfying to see the intensity of our game today, and from a physical aspect it was a testament to how hard we have worked in the camp,” said India’s coach Baljeet Singh.
“Perhaps our only regret is our inefficiency from penalty corners and we will work on that to ensure a better performance in the next match.”
The Malaysians also clawed back from two goals down to hold China to a 2-2 draw today. Yu Anhui opened scoring for China i with a 15th minute penalty corner goal and Shen Yizu doubled the advantage in the 31st minute via a penalty corner.
Malaysia, who finished fifth at the last edition of the event in Bangkok, replied through a brace from Qasidah Najwa from field goals in the 40th and 55th minutes.
The Malaysians and Indians return to the venue on Saturday to face Group A opponents Chinese Taipei and China respectively while in Group B fixtures Japan takes on Korea and Thailand goes up against Singapore.
“Today’s match was good. The girls played well to earn this draw. We have told them to believe in themselves and that they are a good team. They played according to structure and plan,” said Malaysian team head coach K. Gobinathan.
“China and India have been training for the last two years in preparation for the next Junior World Cup. These Malaysian players are very talented and need more training as a team. Despite the short time of training the girls played very well. We need to concentrate on the next game against Chinese Taipei,” added Gobinathan, a former international.
Malaysia, China, India and Chinese Taipei are drawn in Group A while Korea, the 2009 champions when the event was held in Shanghai, China, have for company in Group B Japan, Thailand and Singapore.
The top two teams advance to the December 21 semi-finals with the final the following day.
Group A: India 4 Chinese Taipei 0; Malaysia 2 China 2
Group B: Japan 13 Singapore 0.
Fixtures – Saturday (17 Dec, 2016):
Group A: India v China; Malaysia v Chinese Taipei.
Group B: Japan v Korea; Thailand v Singapore.
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