Wrapping it up
Not the most spectacular of matches they played in this tournament. India scraped through. Against a strong defensive unit, they seem to struggle a bit. They get impatient, frustrated when they don’t score early. And, that leads to nerves. It happened against Ireland in the World Cup. Now, we saw that happening against China. But in the fourth quarter, India went all out on attack and earned a flurry of Penalty Corners and the team’s best drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur was there to send India to the final. Alright, so, Japan next. The last time India won a gold was way back in 1982. Rani and company have a chance to emulate that feat on Friday.
India will play Japan in the final. Japan is ranked five places below India but that doesn’t mean Rani and Co can take them easy. Like India, they, too, have won all the matches so far in the tournament. So, one team on Friday will have to lose for the first time in the tournament.
Japan also beat Korea, a team ranked higher than them, in the semi-final. Here are the key stats from that match.
Even as Rani Rampal and Co are celebrating their historic triumph at the GBK Hockey Field, the Asian Games action resumes across other events elsewhere. Follow it all in our super-quick live blog here
Gurjit Kaur 59’ (Penalty Corner)
HOOTER! There it is. Smiles and hugs all around. India have made the final after 20 long years. The pressure of a knockout game was palpable throughout the match as both teams were contentious for most of the game. The Chinese strategy was to give nothing away to the Indians and perhaps to take the game down to the last moment. But they conceded a few PCs in the final quarter and that led to their undoing. They will now take on Japan (who beat Korea in the other semi-final) in the gold medal match.
Fourth quarter (1 minutes to go) India 1-0 China: China are throwing everything they have, trying to attack. But might be a case of being a little too late for them. Just sixty seconds left in this game.
Fourth quarter (3 minutes to go) India 1-0 China: China have subbed their ‘keeper and brought on a roving one in desperate search of a equaliser.
Fourth quarter (6 minutes to go) India 1-0 China: India have so far made 12 attempts on goals and socred one. China have made just two. Tells you the story of the match.
Fourth quarter (7 minutes to go) India 1-0 China: Penalty Corner again for India. GOAL! India get three PCs back to back after the ball hit the Chinese defender twice. Gurjit Kaur, on the third, flicks the ball to the top right corner. And the Chinese goalie, this time, can’t stop it. Coach Sjoerd Marijne’s ecstatic! So are all the Indian fans present in the stands.
Fourth quarter (9 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: Once again, a wasteful longball played by India with no attacker present in the Chinese circle.
Fourth quarter (11 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: Looks like China are content with trying to take this match to the shootouts. They are still packing the defence with more players. Not many attempts to attack.
Fourth quarter (13 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: Rani Rampal makes a superb run into the Chinese circle, desperately trying to score the opener. But, once again, her angles are blocked by the Chinese defence. She looks frustrated.
End of third quarter India 0-0 China: Reena Khokhar made a scintillating run in the dying seconds of the third quarter, making some quick swerves. But the hit went inches wide of the goal.
Third quarter (2 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: At any given point, at least two Chinese defenders are flocking the Indian attackers. China have simply not let the Indians get closer to their net.
Third quarter (3 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: Another Penalty Corner. Not a bad attempt by Gurjit. Goes for the bottom left corner. But the Chinese goalie dives and makes a crucial save for her team.
Third quarter (6 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: Penalty Corner again for India. Their third one of the match. Gurjit Kaur after receiving the injection from Reena Khokhar hits it wide. Coach Sjoerd Marijne’s restless on the sidelines.
Third quarter (8 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: India, once again, fails to trap well; concede a pass to Chen Yi of China, who storms into the Indian circle and attempts a goal on the run. She doesn’t find the right angle and hits the ball wide.
Third quarter (12 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: The Indians are still struggling to get past the first layer of the Chinese defence, just behind the half-line. They have tried playing longballs, but hasn’t worked. Maybe time to try a few overhead passes as well?
Third quarter (14 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: Early penalty corner in the third quarter for India. Gurjit Kaur takes the PC but the Chinese defence is upto the task. The deadlock remains.
End of second quarter India 0-0 China: In the dying seconds, Monika broke free and made a spirited run to the Chinese circle but her pass went too wide of young Lalremsiami to trap and have a go at the goal.
Second quarter (2 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: India look to continue to attack from the right. But the Chinese defence is a three-layered one. And the first of it is stationed at the midfield. They clear the balls from there itself.
Second quarter (3 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: Some futile longballs being played by India despite not many attackers in the Chinese circle.
Second quarter (6 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: The ball possession goes back and forth. Not many circle entries in this quarter so far.
Second quarter (8 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: Green card for Neha Goyal as India’s quest for the first goal continues.
Second quarter (10 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: India seem to be working out the angles of the opposition well, reading the potential passes and cutting them away. But the problem, so far, has been the attack. Haven’t really come close to scoring in this quarter.
Second quarter (13 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: China get their first Penalty Corner. Zixia Ou doesn’t hit it well, the ball goes wide. And India make a swift counterattack.
End of first quarter: “You have to pass faster,” Indian coach Sjoerd Marijne tells the girls. India would do well to take an early lead so as to avoid building the pressure.
First quarter (2 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: Something amiss about India’s passing tonight. Their attacks keep getting broken. India haven’t created as many chances as they have liked to in this quarter. Credit to China for not letting the Indians take an early lead.
First quarter (4 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: Bit of a goalmouth melee. Navjot tries her luck, trying to put the ball between the legs of the Chinese keeper but the latter’s alert and pads the ball away.
First quarter (5 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: Oh dear, Hong Li of China’s injured. She’s receiving some on-field treatment. Navjot’s stick accidentally comes in contact with Hong’s face.
First quarter (5 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: Another three-on-two situation for India inside the Chinese circle. But Navjot Kaur’s pass goes awry. China breathe easy. India’s looked the more aggressive team. But they need to attack more.
First quarter (8 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: First Penalty Corner of the match. For India. Gurjit Kaur hits straight and the rushing Chinese defender blocks the ball. It’s still 0-0 at the GBK Hockey Field.
First quarter (8 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: Slow start this by both teams. Apart from the one instance by India, neither teams have threatened to score the opener.
First quarter (10 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: That was so close. Three Indian attackers and three Chinese defenders inside the Chinese circle. But India let that opportunity pass. Could have been an early goal.
First quarter (11 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: More interceptions now by both teams. Neither of them have come close to scoring in the first four minutes of the game.
First quarter (13 minutes to go) India 0-0 China: Good start by China. They have not given the ball to the Indians. They have been passing it among themselves.
06:25 pm We are five minutes away from the start. The teams – India in white and blue and China in yellow – are getting ready to take the field.
In case Rani Rampal and Co need inspiration:-
Road to the semi-final:-
India: beat Indonesia 8-0, beat Kazakhstan 21-0, beat Korea 4-1, beat Thailand 5-0
China: beat Chinese Taipei 9-0, drew with Malaysia 2-2, lost to Japan 2-4, beat Hong Kong China 15-0
05:45 pm Good evening, ladies and gents. Big game tonight. A knockout. A fight for the place in the final. The team that wins tonight will be assured of a medal. But India doesn’t want any medal. They are looking to get gold. So far, they have done well in their mission, winning all their games. But tonight will be the biggest test they have faced so far in the tournament. They take on China, ranked just two places below them. In a pressure situation, can they come out on top?