India lose to Japan in Women’s Jr Asia Cup semis

Changzhou (China), Sep 12 (IANS) India failed to enter the final as they went down fighting 2-3 in a penalty shoot-out against Japan in the semi-final of the seventh Women’s hockey Junior Asia Cup here on Saturday.

After a closely fought 60 minutes and riding on the goals by Deep Grace Ekka and Renuka Yadav, the regular period score read 2-2 following which India lost the close shoot-out. India will now play against South Korea in the bronze medal match on Sunday.

The first half started with India’s surprise attack on Japan and very soon they earned a penalty corner. Deep received the ball and she hit it hard into the box to score the first goal of the match in the fourth minute.

With the early lead, India managed to put pressure on their opponents and played most of their game in the Japanese half. Japan took some time to recover and counter-attacked. After a few charges, they earned a penalty corner but India goalkeeper Inderpreet Kaur thwarted the attack.

Japan got another penalty corner in the 18th minute and this time captain Yukari Mano converted, ensuring that the game equalised at 1-1.

In the 25th minute midfielder Renuka Yadav sneaked into the Japanese half with her quick moves and sent the ball into the net to score the second goal for her team. After the 2-1 lead, India managed to control the match again and maintained the score line till the end of the first half.

India soon earned a penalty corner at the restart but failed to materialise. Next moment, Japan counter-attacked and earned a penalty corner which was perfectly saved by Inderpreet.

In the 57th minute, Japan’s Ayane Hirahara entered into the Indian D and scored the second goal for her team. Both teams post that were aiming to score the winner but both failed to capitalise on the opportunities. With the game tied at 2-2 at the end of regulation time, the match entered the shoot-out phase.

In the shoot-outs, Japan converted three while India managed to convert only two. Navjot Kaur and Preeti Dubey successfully converted their chances whereas Navneet Kaur, Deep and skipper Rani failed and eventually lost the match.

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