Asian Champions Trophy: Indian women’s hockey team looks to maintain unbeaten run against South Korea


RANCHI: Already through to the semifinals, India would look to maintain their unbeaten run and top the points table when they face South Korea in their last league match of the women’s Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament here on Thursday.

India is currently leading the six-team league table with 12 points while South Korea, who are also already through to the semifinals, are third with seven points from four matches.

The top four teams after the round-robin league stage qualify for the semifinals.

India have had a dominating run in the tournament so far, having beaten Thailand (7-1), Malaysia (5-0), China (2-1) and Japan (2-1).

South Korea, who have won two matches, lost one (against Japan) and drawn one, would eye to end the league stage with a victory against the hosts.

Historically, South Korea have the edge in the head-to-head record, having won 12 matches out of the 20 games against India.

India has won five games, while three matches ended in a draw.

The last match between the two teams, during the Hangzhou Asian Games, had also ended in a 1-1 draw.

India is coming into Thursday’s match with a morale-boosting 2-1 win over Japan while South Korea also beat Thailand 3-0 on Tuesday.

Sangita Kumari has been in great touch with four goals so far in the tournament and is the joint-top scorer with Zhong Jiaqi of China.

Vandana Katariya, who played her 300th international match in India’s 2-1 win over Japan on Tuesday to become the county’s most-capped woman player, would also be looking to add to her two goals in the tournament.

India head coach Janneke Schopman said her players are determined to end the league stage unbeaten.

“Our journey in this tournament has been incredible so far. The players have exhibited exceptional teamwork, skill, and resilience. We are determined to finish the Pool stage on a high note by defeating Korea,” she said.

The Indian team is trying to redeem itself after the disappointment of its failure to clinch the gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games, which would have given the country a direct qualification to next year’s Paris Olympics.

India lost 0-4 to China in the semifinals of the Asian Games in Hangzhou but defeated Japan 2-1 to clinch the bronze medal.

India won the Asian Champions Trophy only once, in 2016, while they were runners-up twice, in 2013 and 2018.

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