Indian hockey

Hockey: Vandana, Gurjit on target as India beat China 3-1 in Asian Champions Trophy

This was India’s second consecutive in the competition.

Defending champions India defeated China 3-1 on Wednesday to register their second win on the trot in the ongoing Women’s Asian Champions Trophy in Korea.

Forward Vandana Kataria led India’s charge with a brace early in the first quarter. China, though, pulled things back just before the first interval as Wen Dan halved the deficit.

China were relentless in their attack in the subsequent two quarters, but India maintained their edge with some stoic defensive play and astute goal-keeping from Seema Punia. Gurjit eventually restored their two-goal cushion with a penalty corner in the fourth-quarter putting the game beyond the Chinese team.

Earlier, India began on the front foot as Kataria scored as early as the fourth minute, finding the back of the net after deflecting a powerful shot from Lilima Minz, who broke through the Chinese defence with a fine run down the right flank.

Kataria doubled the lead seven minutes later as Udita provided a clever assist after outplaying two Chinese defenders inside the inner circle. She tried to go for goal but the Chinese keeper saved the shot. However, the ball rebounded towards Udita who neatly passed it to Kataria who slotted it home.

India, at the stage looked to be in cruise control. However, China came back into the contest thanks to Dan, who punished the Indian side for their sloppy defending.

There were more nervous moments for India in the second quarter, as China got more organised at the back and began launching more attacking runs. China won three back-to-back penalty corners at one stage, but Punia was up to the task and fended them off with ease.

The defensive line of Deep Ekka, Monika Malik, Gurjit Kaur stood strong as China also continued with their wave of attacks in the third quarter. Their opponents struggled to form a viable attack during the quarter. India sensed a shift in momentum and capitalised as the game resumed for the fourth and final quarter.

India were awarded two back-to-back penalty corners. The first one was saved, but Gurjit stepped up and smashed the second to give India a 3-1 lead. China could not recover from the setback handing India their second consecutive win following their 4-1 victory over Japan earlier this week.

India take on Malaysia in their next game on Thursday.

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