Title hopes over, India look to at least finish on podium in Asia Cup
Their title hopes already over, India would be desperate for at least a podium finish when they take on China in the third-fourth place play-off match of the women's Asia Cup hockey tournament here on Friday.
Lack of match practice due to the COVID-19 pandemic after a successful 2020, where they finished a historic fourth at the Tokyo Olympics, cost India dearly as they produced inconsistent performances in crucial matches to crash out of the title race.
But in the semifinals, some sloppy defending and poor penalty corner conversions put paid to India's hopes as they were beaten 2-3 Korea, who set up a clash against Japan in the summit clash on Friday.
The Indians controlled the game in the first two quarters to go into half time with a slender 1-0 lead.
While the Indian forwardline have enjoyed decent outings in the tournament so far with the likes of Vandana Katariya, Monika, Navneet Kaur and Lalremsiami finding the net on more than one occasion, it is the lack of co-ordination between the midfield and backline that put paid to India's hopes.
Penalty corner conversion is another key area where Indian need to improve by leaps and bounds.
In their last three outings, India had defeated China twice -- 3-1 in the Asian Champions Trophy in 2018 in Donghae, Korea and 1-0 win in the last Asian Games -- before playing out a 0-0 draw in the Tokyo Olympic Test event in 2019.
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