Jakarta: Gurjeet Kaur led the charge as India played with a clinical precision and pumped in three goals in the last quarter of the match to stun the defending champions South Korea 4-1 to move into the semi-finals of the Women hockey competition at the 18th Asian Games here on Saturday.
In an engrossing match in which both the teams were levelled 1-1 at half-time, goal scorers for India were Navneet Kaur (16th), Gurjit Kaur (54th, 55th) and Vandana Katariya (56th).
For the Koreans the lone scorer was Yurim Lee, who converted a stroke. India has won all the three league matches so far scoring 33 goals, while conceding one. Notwithstanding this, Korea has also booked the last four berth from Pool A.
Korea, who faces Kazakhstan in the last league assignment on Monday, have two wins from three matches and they have scored 9 goals while conceding 4.
Earlier, Malaysia routed Chinese Taipei 11-0; Japan beat China 4-2 and Thailand piped Indonesia 2-0. India played well and defended superbly, while the Koreans depended much on speed and counter attacks.
“We played well and were in control of the situation, but our speed dipped in the last quarter and that made the difference,” Korean coach S Huh said after the match. India started the match with making couple of incisive forays but the Korean retaliation was quick and sharp. However, Indian defence marshalled by Gurjit Kaur foiled all the attacks by the defending champions.
The Koreans had a chance to go ahead in the 9th minute but Bomi Kim failed to connect the ball in front of the Indian goal. Indians kept their nerve and made moves from both the flanks and the tactics paid off when in the 16th minute Navneet Kaur breached the rival defence and sent the ball home for 1-0 lead.
Surprised by the goal, Koreans launched a furious counter, but this time Okju Kim failed to deflect a cross from the right.
However, the Koreans managed to draw parity in the 21st minute when defender Deep Grace Ekka fouled a Korean striker in the circle resulting in a penalty corner, which was converted by Yurim Lee (1-1).
A minute before the breather, Indian goal just survived as Hyejn Cho fumbled and failed to put the ball in the open goal. It was an even battle in the third quarter though the Koreans had major share of the ball but they failed to breach the Indian defence.
The teams shared the exchanges till the 53rd minute when suddenly India launched a blitz and pumped in three goals in as many minutes to seal the match in their favour.
India forced their first penalty corner in the 54th minute and Gurjit Kaur with powerful drag flick sent the ball into the net for make it 2-1.
A minute later, India earned another penalty corner and this time again Gurjit found the net (3-1).
The two quick goals rattled the Koreans and before they could recover from it, Vandana Katariya took advantage of the defensive lapse to send the ball home for 4-1 and the Koreans were left with no option but to give up. “Players’ fitness played a crucial role in our win,” said a beaming Indian coach S Marijne.
“We are the deserving winners .The girls played to a plan and our penalty corner conversion was hundred per cent,” Marijne pointed out.
“On the whole, it was team’s victory because everyone played their role. We defended well and converted our chances,” he added.