India beats Japan & Claims Women’s Asian Champions Trophy
Published On: 05 Nov 2023 Updated On: 07 Nov 2023
India dethroned Japan to win the Jharkhand Women’s Asian Champions Trophy in a thrilling match in Ranchi on Sunday, 5th of November 2023. This is India’s second Asian Champions Trophy title with the first coming in 2016 and the team’s second silverware under head coach Janneke Schopman after the FIH Nations Cup victory. Local girl Sangita Kumari (17th min), Neha Goyal (46th), Lalremsiami (57th), and Vandana Katariya (60th) were the scorers as India claimed the continental crown for the second time, having won it in 2016 at Singapore.
The ACT trophy is India’s first title since December 2022 when the FIH(International Hockey Federation) Nations Cup was claimed by a team coached by Janneke Schopman, in Valencia for entry and qualification to the Pro League.
The final match got delayed by an hour due to the absence of one of the four floodlights at the Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh AstroTurf Hockey Stadium. During the first quarter, neither of the teams was in control of their skills which led to neither of the teams not being able to display their power completely in the game. This quarter was definitely both low on quality and a clear-cut one. Once the game started, India was at their dominant best, followed by cheers from the Indian men’s team in the audience. The men won the continental tournament in Chennai in August.
Since the whole tournament was played in the hometown of Sangita Kumari provided the moment of inspiration to her members during the early second quarter. She scored past the Japanese goalkeeper with a superb finish after being played through on the right flank by Neha. This provided the Indian team with hope and the members got back on their feet by getting a hang of the match. On the other hand, even the Japanese team held their defense well throughout the second quarter. The same flow from both teams continued throughout the second quarter and the early third quarters.
The Indian team had to stay strong in the defense as well and the Japanese launched a string of penalty corners to which the Indian goalkeeper Savita Punia held firm.
Nevertheless, India maintained its dominance in the final quarter which gave some fabulous memories to the crowd watching the match towards the end of the match and tournament. Neha who was in great form, doubled the lead with a deflection after a clever play of penalty corner routine.
Japan still had the chance to lower the deficit to 1 after earning a penalty corner. However, Savita deflected their chance with an outstretched left boot and the reaction of the Indian team towards this confirmed that they were sure of getting over the line after that. After a while, even India earned a penalty corner where Lalremsiami’s looping shot off a rebound went over the Japanese defender on the line. Lalremsiami then set up Vandana’s fourth after more excellent work from Neha, as India’s most experienced player put the exclamation mark on a fantastic tournament and a fantastic week for Schopman’s team.
Despite the disappointment in the Hangzhou Asian Games, India did their best and did everything they could do for the tournament which can be considered as a tune-up event for the Olympic qualifiers in a couple of months. Emerging victorious in all of the seven matches, earning 27 goals along with 3 goals conceded and the team proudly takes home the silverware.
Here is a post on X by Hockey India applauding the victory of the girls.
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