The Indian womenâ€™s hockey team continued its splendid run and came up with an over-all performance to stun defending champions Japan 4-2 in the semi-final of the Asia Cup hockey tournament, here on Friday.
Goals from Gurjit Kaur (7th, 9th minutes), Navjot Kaur (9th) and Lalremsiami (38th) ensured Indiaâ€™s entry into Sundayâ€™s final where they will face China.
India had earlier defeated an unpredictable China 4-1 in the league stage of the tournament.
Against Japan, the Indians got off to a rollicking start by earning back-to-back penalty corners to put pressure on the host nation.
Dragflicker Gurjit Kaur gave India a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute when she improvised the injection to send the ball past Japanese goalkeeper Akio Tanaka.
Two minutes later, Navjot Kaur doubled Indiaâ€™s lead when she struck a field goal from a perfect assist by forward Vandana Katariya.
Almost immediately, India won a penalty corner and Gurjit was yet again on target as she gave India a commanding 3-0 in no time.
India won another penalty corner in the first quarter but this time Tanaka made a fine save.
While the first 15 minutes belonged to India, the defending champions made a strong comeback in the second quarter.
Japan unleashed a well coordinated attack on the Indian defence and found space for Shiho Tsujii to score past Indian custodian Savita in the 17th minute.
The next few minutes saw Indiaâ€™s defence put to test by the Japanese.
Yui Ishibashi gave India jitters when she scored another field goal to close the gap to 2-3 in the 28th minute.
From there on, the Indians were needed to play cautiously and not make impulsive decisions. This was exactly what they did after the 10-minute break at halftime.
While Savita made a brilliant save to deny Japan from a penalty corner at the start of the third quarter, Lalremsiami scored a sensational field goal in the 38th minute to extend Indiaâ€™s lead to 4-2.
The final 15 minutes of the match continued to remain tense as Japan won two penalty corners but Savita stood like a rock in front of the goal to deny the hosts.