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India women beat Japan to claim Asian Champions Trophy | Hockey

The Indian women’s hockey team dethroned Japan to crown themselves Asian Champions Trophy winners. The hosts beat Japan 4-0 in the final at Ranchi on Sunday.

India's Salima Tete (30) celebrates after scoring a goal during the Women's Asian Champions Trophy 2023 semi-final match against South Korea(PTI)
India’s Salima Tete (30) celebrates after scoring a goal during the Women’s Asian Champions Trophy 2023 semi-final match against South Korea(PTI)

Local girl Sangita Kumari (17th min), Neha Goyal (46th), Lalremsiami (57th) and Vandana Katariya (60th) were the scorers as India claimed the continental crown for the second time, having won it in 2016 at Singapore.

This is India’s first title since December 2022 when the Janneke Schopman coached side claimed the FIH Nations Cup in Valencia to qualify for the Pro League.

The start of the final was delayed by 50 minutes as one of the four floodlights did not come on at the Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh AstroTurf Hockey Stadium. Once the game started, India were at their dominant best, cheered on by the Indian men’s team in audience. The men won the continental tournament in at Chennai in August.

The hosts started by playing attacking hockey, penetrating Japan’s defence immediately. Japan were living dangerously and Deepika had a great chance but the forward took too much time to miss out.

The deadlock was finally broken when Navneet Kaur made a brilliant run to the top of the Japanese striking circle. She passed to Neha, who pushed the ball to Sangita and the Jharkhand player put the ball past the line for her sixth goal in the tournament to the delight of the 10,000-strong crowd.

Japan equalised after a few minutes but the goal was ruled out after India’s referral. Skipper Savita Punia was brilliant in goal as she saved three successive penalty corner (PC) opportunities. She also saved a penalty stroke in the final quarter.

India scored their second goal via a PC variation as Deepika passed to Deep Grace Ekka, who struck the ball and Neha in front of the goal scored. India scored their third when Lalremsiami scored via a PC. Vandana rounded it off in the final minute.

China beat South Korea 2-1 in the third place playoff.

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