India stunned four-time champions South Korea to clinch their first ever Women’s Junior Hockey Asia Cup title on Sunday. In what was a hard fought match in Kakamigahara, Gifu Prefecture, Japan, Annu (22′) and Neelam (41′) scored a goal each for India to seal the deal.
India had the perfect start to the game, winning a penalty corner in opening minute, but unfortunately failed to convert it into goal. Later, Korea shifted the momentum in their favour by controlling possession as well as earning an early penalty corner, which India managed to survive thanks to Neelam’s timely save.
Korea continued their dominance in the second quarter, creating several chances to take the lead. However, India remained resolute in defence and managed to hold on until Annu struck first with a fine field goal.
The third period saw both teams battle it out for supremacy as they sought to gain control of proceedings. Korea had their fair share of opportunities but couldn’t make them count, while India too made some neat moves in an attempt to double their lead.
In the fourth and final quarter, Neelam found the breakthrough for India with a brilliant strike as the clock wound down. Korea tried hard to find an equaliser but came up short, allowing India to clinch their first ever junior title.
The triumph was the result of a collective effort from team India, who fought hard to outwit their opponents. With this win, India have made a statement and established themselves as a serious contender in the Asian hockey circuit.