MUSCAT: Japan fought back from behind to come up 4-2 winners against a hardworking South Korea in the final of the Women’s Asia Cup in Muscat on Friday night.
Chief guest Dr Laila Ahmed al Najjar, Minister of Social Development, gave away the trophies and medals to the winners. Also present were Dato Tayyab Ikram, CEO of Asian Hockey Federation, and Dr Marwan Juma al Juma, Chairman of Oman Hockey Association, along with other dignitaries.
Japan coach Jude Menezes expressed delight in winning the title.
"We were fighting hard to come back into the game. We knew we could score the goals once the players kept their composure. Our players just did that," he told Oman Observer.
It was South Korea who dominated the proceedings from the start as they put pressure on the Japanese goalmouth.
South Korea found the opening goal in the 12th minute of the match when Seung ju Lee slotted home from a penalty corner.
Japan slowly settled in the game and started building good moves but Korean women defended well to deny an equaliser.
However, Japan pressed hard and struck parity when Kaho Tanaka scored in the 28th minute from a penalty corner.
The second quarter ended with a 1-1 score.
South Korea started strong again after the half-time and took the lead when tournament joint top-scorer Enubi Cheon hit a field goal in the 34th minute.
Japan, coached by former Indian player Jude Menezes, came back hard and Kanon Mari pulled it level in the 37th minute after a penalty corner.
Japan were on a roll and were hard to stop as they made relentless raids into the South Korean penalty box.
And for the first time in the match, Japan raced to a 3-2 lead at the stroke of the third quarter from a penalty corner by Kaho Tanaka.
Japan returned to the final quarter where they had left behind and stunned South Korea with another goal.
Kaho Tanaka’s brilliant field goal gave Japan a two-goal cushion with the score 4-2 in the 46th minute.
South Korea could not recover from the twin blows as Japan defended well to complete a well-deserved victory.
INDIA WIN BRONZE
Earlier, defending champions India claimed the bronze after beating China 2-0 in the third-place play-off match.
For India, Sharmila Devi found the target from a penalty corner in the 13th minute. The second goal was scored by Gurjit Kaur from another penalty corner in the 19th minute.