Annu and Neelam scored for the Indian hockey team. Japan won the bronze medal to qualify for the FIH Junior Women’s World Cup 2023.
The Indian hockey team clinched the Women’s Junior Asia Cup 2023 title in Kakamigahara, Japan, with a 2-1 win over the Republic of Korea in the final on Sunday.
This is the first time India have won the Women’s Junior Asia Cup. India had already secured a spot in the FIH Women’s Junior World Cup 2023 in Chile. Japan beat China 2-1 to become the third team to qualify for the World Cup scheduled this year.
For India, Annu (21′) and Neelam (40’) were on target while Seoyeon Park (24’) scored the solitary goal for Korea.
India started the game on an attacking note by winning a penalty corner in the opening minute of the game but they failed to capitalise on it. However, Korea resorted to counter-attacks and controlled the possession. Despite both teams playing attacking hockey, the first quarter ended goalless.
Korea stuck to their approach in the second quarter and pushed India on the back foot. However, India took the lead through Annu who converted via a penalty stroke.
India’s lead, however, didn’t last long as Seoyeon Park scored an equaliser for Korea via a field goal. The second quarter didn’t witness any more goals as both teams went into the half-time break with the scores levelled at 1-1.
The second half of the match started with Korea maintaining possession while the Indian team switched to counter-attacks and it paid off as Neelam converted a penalty corner to put India in front as the third quarter ended with the score 2-1 in favour of the Indian team.
In order to protect their lead, India shifted their focus on defending and controlled the tempo of the game by keeping possession in the fourth quarter. On the other hand, Korea made forced errors and misdirected passes in their desperation to find an equaliser. Ultimately, India stood strong and stuck to their strategy to win the title clash 2-1.
Earlier this month, India also won the Men’s Junior Asia Cup hockey tournament after beating arch-rivals Pakistan in the final.