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India salvage draw against China

February 02, 2004 18:54 IST

India were spared the agony of losing a game they dominated throughout when Jyoti Kullu managed to score two minutes from time against China in a league match, which ended in a 1-1 draw, of the Women's Asia Cup Hockey tournament at New Delhi on Monday.

The hosts called the shots during the entire 70 minutes of the game but failed to convert the advantage into goals, a fact acknowledged by their coach M K Kaushik.

"We could have won today. It was our match," he said while summing up the Pool 'A' encounter.

In other matches, defending champion South Korea thrashed Singapore 9-1, Japan drubbed Sri Lanka 21-0 while Malaysia defeated Kazakhstan 2-0.

Commonwealth gold medallists India enjoyed over 70 per cent of the ball possession against the Chinese but they faltered every time they entered the rival striking circle.

The hosts were also found wanting in penalty corner conversion as they wasted 10 of the 11 chances that came their way.

When all seemed lost for the Indians, Kullu managed to deflect a penalty corner hit by Suman Bala, over the diving goalkeeper to at least get one point from the tie.

Both India and China now have a win and a draw from two league matches and would have to win their last league encounters on Wednesday with maximum goal margin to top the group.

India will play Kazakhstan while China face Malaysia.

China, who have sent a second string side for the championship, focused their attention on counter attacks against the fast paced Indians. The efforts of the World Championship bronze medallist paid off when their skipper Ma Yibo sounded the board in the 33rd minute through a penalty corner.

Down a goal, India went all out in the second half with the Indian forward line breathing down the neck of the Chinese custodian.

But none of the moves bore fruit as they failed to keep control over the ball inside the circle. The Indian dominance could be judged by the fact that they got 10 penalty corners in the second half to go with the one in the first.

The hosts tried different variations but still could not make any impact as the hits taken by Suman Bala were either weak or very wide for any other player to deflect inside the goal.

The Pool 'B' matches were again one-sided affairs as South Korea and Japan rained goals at will.

Japan, who had scored 15 goals against Singapore on Sunday, continued from where they had left and pounded as many as 13 in the first half itself.

Sachimi Iwao led the goal feast with six (12th, 14th, 17th, 19th, 31th, 33th), Tomomo Komori netted four (24th, 37th, 40th, 64th), Rika Komazawa scored three (24th, 35th, 49th) while Chie Kimura (21th, 51th), Sakee Morimoto (35th, 62nd) and Keiko Miura (45th, 53rd) contributed two each. Miyuki Nakagawa (2nd) and Akiko Kitada converted one each. 

The Koreans, on the other hand, concentrated on ball possession and finished with nine after netting seven in the first half. Japan thus created a new championship goal record breaking the one they and Korea created yesterday.

Kim Jong-fun (2nd, 6th, 7th) and Nam Jin A (11th, 19th, 62th) scored three each while Choi Su-yun (4th), Kang Na-Young (16th) and Oh Sun-soon (43th) netted one each. Qi Hui (30th) founded the net for the only consolation goal for Singapore.

The match between the two minnows of Pool A, Malaysia and Kazakhstan was a hard-fought affair.

The Malaysians, coached by former Indian assistant coach C R Kumar, controlled the mid field very well and launched a number of attacks from the right flank.

Malaysia went into the lead in the 29th minute through Nadia Rahman, who took advantage of a free cross from the right to score her first goal of the tournament.

Nurul Nadia increased the lead in the 51st minute through an indirect penalty corner conversion.

Malaysia could have gone 3-0 ahead in the 60th minute when Nurul's penalty corner hit landed in the net. But the umpire Emi Furuta, who had earlier allowed the goal, reversed her decision in consultation with her counterpart.

According to the rules, if a hit is taken then the ball should hit the board and not above it.

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