(Photo: FIH)

India and China joined Korea and Japan as semifinalists of the Women’s Asia Cup here in Hong Kong. India defeated Singapore 16-0, while China nailed Thailand 15-0. In Pool B action, host Hong Kong booked a 2-1 victory over Chinese Taipei.

By Mike Field, Media Officer Asia Cup

India maintained their top spot in the pool A competition with a comprehensive 16-0 victory over a Singapore side that simply could not cope with the excellent stick work and passing of the well drilled Indians.

The South Asian side's victory kept them ahead of China in the pool standings by a two goal difference after China had earlier beaten a plucky Thailand by 15-0.

In contrast to China who blazed away at Thailand from the opening whistle in the earlier fixture, India's forwards were patient for the first ten minutes with the opener coming in the 7th minute when the captain Mamta Kharab converted from a penalty corner to notch up the first of five goals.

But after Kharab netted her second, a field goal from open play, in the 19th minute to make the score 3-0, the flood gates began to open.

Five goals came in quick succession through four penalty corner conversions and a sole field goal to make the half time score 8-0 in favor of India.

The same trend continued in the second half with India not rushing the Singapore goal, but rather biding their time. Saba Anjum opened the second half scoring with a field goal in the 41st minute.

But with Indian goals coming regularly as the Singapore defense struggled to contain the Indian forwards, it was only with the score 14-0, and India level pegging with China in the goal difference race and just three minutes left on the clock, that the South Asians really picked up the pace.

Then with just two minutes remaining in the match and Singapore tiring, Jasjeet Kaur scored a well taken field goal to keep the Indians ahead of China.

Just make certain, Kaur scored again on full time to make the final score 16-0 to India.

The stage is now set for the crucial mouth watering clash between China and defending Asia Cup champions India in tomorrow evening's final pool A fixture of the tournament that will decide which team really is top of the pool.     

Tournament favorites China started the pool A fixture against hockey novices Thailand with five minute lightning quick blitz to stun the Thais with three very quick goals from Huang Jun Xia, Zhou wan Feng and Song Qing Ling in the 1st, 3rd and 4th minutes respectively.

But then to their credit Thailand managed to steady the ship somewhat and produce some constructive hockey while not being able to seriously threaten the China goalmouth as the favourites rolled inexorably on to a very comfortable half time lead of 7-0. Thai goal keeper JesdapomTongsun was certainly up to the challenge and produced several good saves

China started the second half in the same mode with the 8th goal coming just three minutes after the resumption through a field goal netted by Tang Chun Ling. That trend continued with goals coming at regular intervals Li Hong Xia wrapping it up with a field goal virtually at the final whistle to make it China 15, Thailand 0.  

According to Thailand coach Aussie Tim Kelly the main problem is that his charges have had little or no game practice at any level. 'Thailand has been out of hockey for over 10 years and this team simply has had no match practice at all. We train a lot and in June this year managed to get Singapore to come to Bangkok for a three match series of which we managed to draw one' he said.' There is no hockey played at all in our close neighbors Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia' Kelly said.

'Thailand's 2-1 victory over Singapore on the Saturday was our first ever international win' said a delighted Kelly.

Results Women’s Asia Cup Wednesday 5 September 2007:

Pool A:
Thailand – China 0-15
India – Singapore 16-0

Ranking: 1. India 3-9 (38-0), 1. China 3-9 (37-0), 3. Malaysia 3-3 (5-13), 4. Thailand 3-1 (2-33), 5. Singapore 4-1 (2-38).

Pool B:
Hong Kong – Chinese Taipei 2-1

Ranking: 1. Japan 2-6 (26-0), 2. Korea 2-6 (25-0), 3. Hong Kong 3-3 (2-33), 4. Chinese Taipei 3-0 (1-21).

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