The Indian women's hockey team finished a disappointing fourth in the Asian Games after Keiko Manabe's golden goal guided Japan to a 1-0 victory in the bronze meadal play-off match in Guangzhou on Wednesday.
Manabe scored the winner in the 78th minute from a penalty corner after both the sides failed to break the deadlock in the regulation time at the Aoti Hockey Field.
With this win, Doha Games silver medallist Japan has managed to avoid the ignominy of finishing out of the medal bracket.
The Indians, on the other hand, will be a disappointed lot and will return empty handed after failing to defend their bronze medal in Doha four years ago.
The win also ensured a clean slate for Japan against India in the quadrennial event after having beaten the Surinder Kaur-led side 3-0 in the group stages.
The Indians displayed far from impressive hockey as Japan controlled the proceedings from the word go.
On more than one occasion, the Indians were undone by poor trapping and some sloppy defensive work, which resulted in as many as 10 penalty corners for Japan out of which they converted one.
To add to it, there was no co-ordination between the Indian midfield and forwardline as the girls were guilty of unnecessarily holding on to the ball.
If not for Indian custodian Dipika Murthy, Japan could have sealed the match in their favour in regulation time.
A brilliant Dipika came to her side's rescue on numerous occasions, denying the Japanese from set pieces as well as field efforts.
However, Dipika could not save the day for India as Japan had the last laugh when Manabe converted her side's 10th short corner with precision just after the start of the second period of extra time.