Asian Champions Trophy: Indian hockey eves beat China 3-1

Donghae City [Korea], May 16 (ANI): Defending champions India continued their winning performance as they thrashed world number eight China 3-1 in their second round-robin match at the 5th Women's Asian Champions Trophy here at the Sunrise Stadium on Wednesday. India had earlier beaten Japan 4-1 in their opening match on Sunday. It was experienced forward Vandana Katariya who starred in India's victory as she scored double goals in the fourth and 11th minute that gave a formidable lead early on for the defending champions while Gurjit Kaur (51') was the other goal scorer for India. India were on attack mode right from the start. While a constructive defence against a strong Chinese squad was imperative, India showed zeal as they pushed for an early goal. It was impeccable team work between Lilima Minz, Navjot Kaur and Vandana that ensured India were put ahead of China by a goal in the fourth minute. An assist by Navjot to Lilima who used reverse shot to the post found a perfect deflection off Vandana's stick. Their second goal came off Udita's clever assist to Vandana who smashed it past China goalkeeper giving India a comfortable 2-0 lead. Udita had taken the shot on goal herself but was obstructed by the Chinese goalkeeper, she picked up the rebound, but surrounded by Chinese defenders, she pushed the ball to Vandana who took her time to channel the ball into the goal post. Having pushed China on the back foot early on, the world number eight squad were desperate for a break through. Their moment of reckoning came in the 15th minute when Wen Dan converted a well-struck field goal to narrow the lead to 2-1 before going into the first break. China had earlier won four back-to-back penalty corners but could not breach Savita's fine goalkeeping. While the second quarter saw India keep up the momentum and showed excellent defensive skills that kept China from equalizing, the third quarter saw Savita showcase excellent goalkeeping skills to keep China from converting their fifth penalty corner. India put up their attacking front yet again in the fourth quarter that fetched an important penalty corner in the 51st minute. Gurjit Kaur, who is India's lone drag flick expert, made no mistake to swiftly striking the ball to the centre of the post taking India's lead to 3-1. With clock ticking away, China looked to come back into the game but a goal remained elusive. Though they won a penalty corner in the dying minutes of the match, Indian defenders steered clear to register their second successive win. "It was important to hold our defence against a dangerous Chinese team who have the ability to comeback into the game at any point. Our aim today was to start well and get early lead to put pressure on them. It worked and we played to structure and plan. We had good variations to score and I am happy with the way we played. It was a complete team effort," stated Vandana Katariya who was awarded player-of-the-match for her double-goal effort. India will now take on Malaysia in their third pool stage match at the 5th Women's Asian Champions on May 17
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