The hosts South Korea dethroned defending champions India by a solitary second quarter goal to become the new champion of the Asian Women’s Champions Trophy at Donghae on Sunday. It was India’s first defeat in the five-nation tournament and it came a day after the parent body back home changed from a woman President to a new male President.
Playing to a plan and to the expectations, Koreans had the defending champions on the run and on defence for most of the time as Indian girls found the game little too hostile for them. In fact, India was lucky to end up with a solitary goal defeat as the Koreans missed at least three clean sitters in the run of play and did not concede even a single penalty corner.
On the other hand, Koreans had three penalty corners.
Though Indian girls did try to raise the level of their attacks but found the Korean defence too hard to crack. Compared to the Koreans, the chances they had were half hearted suffered from final execution. Individual patches of brilliance by some Indian players, including Vandana Katariya, the overall performance of the team today fell short of a champion team. On the other hand, Koreans played like champions throughout without slackening their pace or pressure on the opponents.
In the run of play with swift and pacy exchanges, Koreans made a break through in the 24 th minute when Lee Young scored the all important only goal of the match.
After playing a 1-1 draw in the last round robin league encounter yesterday, it looked as if the defending champions have some secret strategy up its sleeves to demolish the hosts. But it turned out other way. These were the Koreans who surprised more fancied Indians in almost every department of the game. Withdrawal of goalkeeper in the last few minutes of the game, too, did not work for the defending champions.
It is the first title loss in the Asian continental hockey for India after a spate of title triumphs in last several months. Indian girls are also currently Asia Cup champions.But the Asian Champions Trophy title has now been wrested by South Korea.
It may be a great morale booster for Koreans who are also like India preparing for the Asian Games in Jakarta in August.