Hangzhou, 2 October; A superb penalty corner conversion by Navneet Kaur in the 44th minute, enabled India to hold Korea to a thrilling 1-1 draw in their third Pool A match of Women's hockey at the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou on Sunday.
It was Korea who took the lead in the 12th minute through Hyejin CHO.
Both the teams are unbeaten in this group with seven points each so far but India is currently on top of the Pool A by virtue of a goal difference.
In a fast-paced encounter Korea had an opportunity to take an early lead, but the defender Deep Grace Ekka made a brilliant goal-line save to deny them the lead.
After surviving the early scare, India quickly settled into a passing rhythm while controlling the majority of possession and Sangita Kumari even got a good opportunity to give her side the lead as she was past Korea’s defense line and had to beat their goalkeeper but she could not keep her shot on target thus missing out on a great chance.
Korea switched to counter-attacking and it paid off when they won the penalty stroke, which was converted by Hyejin CHO (12’) without much difficulty. Following that, India upped the ante in search of an equaliser, repeatedly testing Korea's defense and even coming close to scoring on multiple occasions, but were unable to find the back of the net as the first quarter ended with Korea leading 1-0.
In the second quarter, India increased the frequency of their attacks in an attempt to level the score courtesy of which they even won two penalty corners but failed to capitalise on any of them., Sangita once again had a good chance to score an equaliser with just the goalkeeper to beat but her shot was off target.
In terms of possession and creating chances, it was India who dominated the second quarter and came close to scoring quite a few times but somehow couldn’t thus allowing Korea to maintain their 1-0 lead at the half-time break.
To capitalise on their lead, Korea launched a strong offensive push in the third quarter, earning an early penalty corner, but couldn’t convert it. Meanwhile, India made counter moves to equalise and kept the rival defense under pressure by rigorous attacking and it paid dividends as Navneet Kaur (44’) converted a penalty corner to put the Indian team on level terms as the third quarter ended with score tied at 1-1.
High on confidence after scoring the equaliser, India came out all guns blazing in the fourth and final quarter of the match, however, Korea not only soaked the pressure well but also kept checking India’s defence.
India switched to counter-attacking in search of the winning goal and even won a penalty corner in the closing minutes of the game but were unable to convert it.
India will next take on Hong Kong China in their last Pool A match on Tuesday.