Asia Cup Hockey: India’s title hopes dashed after losing 2-3 to Korea in semifinal

The Indian women’s hockey team’s hopes of defending the Asia Cup title went up in smoke as Korea secured a come-from-behind 2-3 win to qualify for the final of the continental event at the Sultan Qaboos Complex here on Wednesday.

India started brightly and took the lead in the 28th minute through Vandana Katariya before Korea made a brilliant comeback after the change of ends and scored thrice through skipper Enubi Cheon (31st), Seung Ju Lee (45th) and Hyejin Cho (47th) to stun the holders.

India will now play the loser of the second semifinal between Japan and China in the third-fourth place play-off match on Friday.

If the first two quarters belonged to India, the Koreans dominated the game after the half time break. India earned a penalty corner early on in the first quarter but Gurjit Kaur’s flick was saved by the Korean goalkeeper. Minutes later Shamila Devi’s reverse hit from top of the circle flew inches over the goal.

Lalremsiami gave India the lead soon from close range but the goal was disallowed because of a foul inside the circle. Seconds from the end of the first quarter, Vandana’s reverse hit try was saved from close range by the Korean custodian. The Indians came close twice and were by far the better side on display but failed to translate their chances into goals. The Koreans looked dangerous on the counter but the Indian defence was up to the task.

In the second quarter Korea secured their first penalty corner but failed to breach the Indian defence as skipper Savita produced a double save.

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