The Indian women's hockey team survived some anxious moments to avenge its Asian Games loss with a 2-1 win over China and continue its rampaging run at the women's Asian Champions Trophy on Monday. Deepika (15th) and Salima Tete (26th) sounded the board for the hosts, while Zhong Jiaqi scored in the 41st minute for China. China had spoilt India's bid to earn a direct qualification for the Tokyo Olympics after beating them in the semifinals of the Asian Games in Hangzhou last month. (Hockey News)
But on Monday, India returned the favours in their third group stage match to stay atop the standing.
India started on an attacking note, trying to make inroads from left to right but the Chinese put up a defensive wall to thwart any attempt by the hosts.
India held possession and Jyoti Sonika earned their first PC but squandered it due to a lapse by stopper Monika. Soon the hosts were awarded a penalty stroke and Deepika converted it in style with just 30 seconds left in the first quarter.
China made a circle penetration early in the second quarter but India managed to stave off any threat.
India were one player down after Lalremsiami was suspended for two minutes but China failed to capitalise on the opportunity.
Local star Salima Tete then produced a stunning reverse hit in the 25th minute from near the circle to put India 2-0 ahead.
In the final moments of the second quarter, China earned a PC but Indian defenders were up to the mark to grab a comfortable lead at the halfway stage.
India earned another PC with Vandana Katariya, playing her 299th game, making the injection but the Chinese defence stood firm.
China started putting relentless pressure on India but Savita stood firm, thwarting a threatening move from the left as she kicked the ball away to neutralise the Chinese attack.
However, China eventually earned their second PC with four minutes left in the quarter and went for a variation as Zhong Jiaqi sent the ball past Savita to score their first goal.
Looking for the equaliser, China made an aggressive start to the final quarter and tried to take hold of the midfield.
China soon earned a PC after the ball rose dangerously in the air amidst the scuffle. India asked for a review but the video umpire ruled otherwise.
Soon, there was a brief interruption due to malfunction of the floodlights. On resumption, China couldn't convert the PC as India held on to the advantage.
Vandana was then handed a yellow card for tripping a Chinese player with her stick while making a tackle, leaving India with 10 players for the remaining five minutes.
Desperate for the equaliser, China replaced the goalkeeper with a field player and earned another PC with five minutes to go but squandered it.
The Asian Games champions mounted another attacking run and almost scored with three minutes to go as India survived a scare.