Bangkok (20 Dec, 2016): High riding teams Korea, Japan, China and India advanced into the semi-finals of the 4th Women Under-18 Asia Cup at the National Hockey Training Centre in Bangkok.
The Koreans continued their fine run here with an 8-0 win over Singapore on Monday, defending champions Japan triumphed 9-0 against hosts Thailand, China defeated Chinese Taipei 12-0 to grab the final ticket into Tuesday’s (Dec 21) semi-finals from Group A and India crushed Malaysia’s hope with a 3-1 victory.
The Indians, who topped Group A on nine points, go head to head against Group B runners-up Japan in the first semi-final whilst Group B champions Korea plays China in the second semi-final.
Malaysia meets Thailand in the play-off for fifth-sixth position, and the two bottom-placed teams in Group A and B respectively in the form of Chinese Taipei and Singapore will decide for 7-8th positions.
The Japanese forwards have scored 23 goals and conceded four and that too in the 4-1 defeat against the Koreans while registering big scores over Singapore (13-0) and Thailand (9-0). India, on the opposite end, have netted 10 goals and conceded three – so an India and Japan semi-final encounter is expected to go down the wire as both teams have a strong depth in attacking structure.
Korea and China have come this far with impressive results as well. Group A champions Korea defeated Thailand 5-0 and Singapore 8-0 respectively while China outclassed Chinese Taipei 12-0 – a result that pushed Malaysia out of semi-final contention as both teams shared four equal points after the final group matches but China advanced to the semi-finals on a better goal difference.
India’s Under-18 women’s team showed great form against Malaysia in the 3-1 win in its final group match to top Pool l A. Both teams were slow to start off the blocks, but India exhibited far better control and possession and managed to have several penetrations into the circle, but failed to create a clear chance for a goal.
Malaysia, meanwhile, earned the first penalty corner of the match but India’s defence closed the drag flick down quickly, forcing it wide of the mark.
Soon after, India scored off their first penalty corner to give the team a deserved lead. Manpreet Kaur deflected the disguised pass from the drag-flick with a superb first time touch into the bottom corner. The teams went into halftime with India leading 1-0.
India increased the pace of the play in the second half and started making inroads into Malaysia’s stubborn defence and doubled their lead with another penalty corner in the 39th minute.
India’s first shot was blocked by the Malaysian defenders but in the ensuing tussle, the ball fell in front of Poonam, who slotted home from within two yards.
Malaysia struck back with a goal in the 40th minute with Nuramirah Shakirah scoring off a counter attack. However, India widened the deficit in the 46th minute via a superbly constructed goal finished by Lalremsiami.
Manpreet’s driving pass into the circle was flicked on by Sangita Kumari, and a diving Lalremsiami guided the ball into the goal to give India a 3-1 lead and ensured victory.
Results (19 Dec, 2016):
Group A: India 3 Malaysia 1; China 12 Chinese Taipei 1
Group B: Korea 8 Singapore 0; Japan 9 Thailand 0
Fixtures: Semi-finals (21 Dec, 2016) – India v Japan; Korea v China.