Vastavam web: Goalkeeper Savita produced a stunning save in a tense shootout as India won the Asia Cup to secure qualification in next year’s hockey World Cup following a nerve-wracking win over China in the final here today.The team broke a 13-year-old jinx when skipper Rani scored the final goal and Savita foiled an attempt from the rivals to ensure a 5-4 win.Earlier, it was Navjot Kaur who scored India’s lone goal in the 25th minute while China found a late equaliser through Tiantian Luo, who converted a penalty corner in the 47th minute.
It was in 2004 when the Indian women’s team had clinched the Asia Cup trophy by beating Japan 1-0.It was advantage China right at the start as a stick check in the circle saw India concede a penalty corner in the second minute of the game.China, meanwhile, won their second PC but Savita was spot on yet again to pad away Meiyu Liang’s flick.With the first quarter ending in a stalemate, India came back looking determined to find a breakthrough. The Indian forwards kept the pressure on China as they made brave forays into the striking circle.Navjot came close to converting a field goal in the 17th minute but her diving effort was blocked, even as skipper Rani made a quick attempt to find a deflection.
Neha Goyal and Lilima Minz showcased good dribbling skills to steer past Chinese defenders but a second goal remained elusive even as the clock ticked away.On China’s part, they stayed disciplined in their defence to deny India a chance to score through a PC.The final quarter was tense as China won a PC through successful video referral in the 47th minute. Tiantian Luo kept low as she improvised from the injection to find the right corner of the post, scoring a sensational equaliser.The following minutes saw both teams play at par with each other and not allowing either of them to stay in control.
Meanwhile, China won their fourth PC of the match with little less than three minutes to go for the final whistle.But it was brilliantly saved by rusher Sunita Lakra and almost immediately, India launched a counterattack but only to send the ball wide off the target and complete the full time in a stalemate.