India go down to Japan
In a thrilling turnaround, India, who were trailing by two goals, scored through Soundarya Yendala (62nd minute) and Anupa Barla (65th) to level 2-2. However, they could not maintain the momentum in the penalty shootout and were off to a poor start with Chanchan Devi, skipper Ritu Rani and Vandana Katariya missing the target.
Mazuki Arai and Yuri Nagai put Japan on the threshold of victory but Akiko Ota missed and Akiko Kato’s goal was disallowed for overtime to keep India in contention.
Soundarya and Rani Rampal scored the goals for India to keep them alive but Rika Komazawa sealed the issue for Japan. The result has put India on a sticky wicket as they are tied with Japan on 10 points with Malaysia close on their heels at nine points.
Earlier, Japan’s goals came through penalty corner conversions by Shiho Sakai (4th) and Ota (31st). India defended with zeal and goalkeeper Yogita Bali came up with fine saves against the Japanese. The home side did their best to create openings but Japan stifled them.
Japan opened the scoring in the early minutes of the game when they converted their first penalty corner. Sakai took the strike and her low flick sneaked past Yogita. The visitors doubled their lead off another penalty corner. Sakai took the hit but Bali blocked it. However, a sprinting Ota sounded the board off the rebound.
The second half brought little hope of revival with Japan once again attacking. But India pulled one back off their fifth penalty corner through Soundarya. Then Rani Rampal reverse-flicked a pass from the top of circle and Barla connected it to stun the Japanese.
India next play Russia on Sunday.
DH News Service
Results: Japan: 2 (Shiho Sakai 4th, Ota 31st) drew with India: 2 (Soundarya Yendala 62nd, Anupa Barla 65th). Japan won 3-2 on penalties. Russia: 8 (Alina Krasnoperova 11th, Ekaterina Shaburova 25th, 69th, Kristina Shumilina 39th, Daria Vasileva 50th, Tamara Ivanova 52nd, 59th, Evgenia Sorokina 64th min) bt Kazakhstan: 1 (Vera Domashneva 41st). Malaysia: 12 (Fazilla Sylvester Silin 6th, 58th, Nadia Abdul 11th, 40th, 68th, Nor Azlin Sumantri 15th, 33rd, Siti Rahmah Othman 43rd, Siti Noor Amarina 44th, 66th, 69th, Din Juliani Mohamad 53rd) bt Fiji: 0.