Indian women’s hockey team to play Japan in Asian Champions Trophy opener

Vastavam web: Defending champions India will have a tough opening test as they take on mighty Japan in their first match at the fifth women’s Asian Champions Trophy here today.The team led by experienced defender Sunita Lakra and vice-captain Savita eye a strong start against world no.12 Japan, who have in the past given India a hard fight, often challenging them with a structured defence. In the 2016 edition where India eventually won the title for the first time, Japan had held India to a 2-2 draw in the pol stages and had also defeated finalists China.

India had also lost 0-2 to Japan in last year’s Hockey World League Round 3 but avenged that loss in the Asia Cup where they defeated Japan, who were the defending Champions and hosts. “We have always had tough competition against Japan. They are a quality team and breaking their defence early in the match will be crucial for us,” said 27-year-old skipper Sunita. The team, according to Sunita, is high on confidence after doing well against higher ranked teams at the recent the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.