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India beat Japan, clinch women's hockey bronze

Last updated on: October 01, 2014 15:56 IST

Indian women's hockey team

Indian women's hockey team celebrate after win over Japan. Photograph: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

The Indian women's hockey team beat Japan 2-1 in a keenly-contested third place play-off match to clinch their third bronze medal at the Asian Games after a hiatus of eight years.

The 13th-ranked India produced a spirited effort in Incheon on Wednesday to avenge the 0-1 loss to in the bronze medal play-off four years ago in Guangzhou, China.

Drag-flick expert Jaspreet Kaur (23rd minute) and Vandana Kataria (42nd) scored for India, while Japan's only goal was scored by Akane Shibata in the 41st minute.

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After a barren but hard-fought first quarter, the Indians broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute, converting the second of back-to-back penalty-corners.

After Jaspreet was denied by a brilliant save from Japan custodian Yuka Yoshikawa off the first penalty-corner, India secured another set piece in the next minute which was beautifully converted by the Punjab drag-flicker high into the net.

India could have doubled the lead three minutes after the change of ends, but Poonam Rani missed an easy chance after being fed by Rani Rampal.

The tenth-ranked Japan, however, capitalised on a defensive lapse from the Indians and drew level in the 41st minute when Shibata scored from a goal-mouth melee.

However, a minute later, Vanadana restored India's lead with a field goal after being set up by a brilliant run from Rani Rampal.

India survived some anxious moments in the fourth and final quarter as the Japanese went on the offensive in search of the equaliser.

They survived a close shave in the 54th minute, courtesy a good save by custodian Savita but, in the process, conceded a penalty-corner, which

Japan failed to capitalise on as Yuri Nagai's slap shot went wide.

Three minutes from the final hooter, Vandana wasted a golden chance to add another goal for India, shooting wide with a open goal in front.