Indian women lose to Japan in Junior Asia Cup hockey semi-final

Changzhou (China): Indian women's hockey team today lost the shoot-out battle against Japan after the scoreline of the closely fought semi-final remained 2-2 till regulation time in the 7th Junior Asia Cup.

After a neck-to-neck encounter with goals by Deep Grace Ekka and Renuka Yadav, Indian eves were done in during the penalty shoot-out, which remained 3-2 in favour of Japan.

The India girls will now be playing against Korea in the 3rd-4th Classification Match tomorrow.

The first half started with India's surprise attack on Japanese side and very soon they earned a penalty corner. Deep Grace Ekka received the shot and hit hard into the goal-box to score the first goal of the match in the 4th minute.

With the early 1-0 lead, Indian eves managed to put pressure on their opponents and played most of their game in the Japanese half.

Japan took some time to recover and counter-attacked on the Indian side. After few charges, they earned a penalty corner but Indian goal-keeper Inderpreet Kaur thwarted the attack. Japanese got another penalty corner in 18th minute and this time captain Yukari Mano converted, ensuring that the game equalised at 1-1.

Midfielder Renuka Yadav sneaked into Japanese half in the 25th minute with her quick moves to net the second goal for her team. After the 2-1 lead, Indians managed to control the match again and maintain the same score-line till the end of first half.

The second half started with more aggression from both sides as both the teams stepped on the ground with their game-plans.

India soon earned a penalty corner but failed to materialise it. In the next moment, Japan counter-attacked and earned a penalty corner and was perfectly saved by Inderpreet.

In the 57th minute, Japan's Ayane Hirahara entered into the Indian D and scored the second goal for her team.

Both the teams post that were seen to take one up in the game but failed to materialise on the opportunities. With the game tied at 2-2 at the end of regulation time the match entered the shoot out phase.

During the shoot-out, Japan junior team converted three shoot-outs and Indian team managed to convert only two. Navjot Kaur and Preeti Dubey successfully converted the opportunities whereas Navneet Kaur, Deep Grace and skipper Rani failed to score and eventually lost the match by 2-2 (2-3 SO)

This edition of the event is a qualification tournament for the FIH Junior World cup (Women) 2016.

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