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Posted at: May 17, 2018, 2:47 AM; last updated: May 17, 2018, 2:47 AM (IST)ASIAN CHAMPIONS TROPHY

Vandana cuts through China

Striker’s brace guides India to 3-1 win over world No. 8
Vandana cuts through China
Vandana put India on top with goals in 4th and 11th minutes. file
Donghae City (S Korea), May 16 

Vandana Katariya struck a  brace as defending champions India stunned higher-ranked China 3-1 to continue their winning march at the fifth Asian Champions Trophy women’s hockey tournament here on Wednesday. 

Experienced forward Vandana scored in the 4th and 11th minutes to hand her side a formidable lead early on before Gurjit Kaur converted a penalty corner in the 51st minute to seal the victory. China’s lone goal came from the stick of Wen Dan in the 15th minute.  

With the win, India climbed to the top of the table with two victories from as many games. India had earlier defeated Japan 4-1 in their tournament opener. 

India will play Malaysia in their next round-robin match on Thursday. Malaysia got the better of Japan 3-2 in another encounter on Wednesday.

The tournament also marks the comeback of Dutchman Sjoerd Marijne as the chief coach of the women’s side after being at the helm of the men’s team for a little over seven months. 

Vandana’s strikes, Savita’s saves

World No. 10 India were on the attack from the start. A great move between Lilima Minz, Navjot Kaur and Vandana gave India the early lead. India’s second goal came after Vandana was cleverly assisted by Udita.

World No. 8 China pulled one back in the dying stages of the first quarter through Dan’s well-struck field goal. 

Indian custodian Savita Punia kept India’s 2-1 lead intact, denying the Chinese from four back-to-back penalty corners. In the second and third quarters, India showed excellent defensive skills to keep China at bay. Savita once again came to India’s rescue. 

India came out with an attacking intent in the fourth quarter and it paid off when Gurjit scored from a penalty corner with a low drag-flick.

China went all out to get the goals but the Indian defence stood tall.

“It was important to hold our defence against the dangerous China who have the ability to come back into the game at any point,” said Vandana, who was named the Player of the Match. “Our aim today was to start well and get an early lead to put pressure on them. It worked and we played to a plan. We had good variations to score and I am happy with the way we played. It was a complete team effort,” she added. — PTI

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