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Hockey: Holders China to tackle Japan, Korea to face India in Asia Cup semis

Peng Yang on the run in China’s 7-0 win over Hong Kong to top Pool A and set up a semi-final against Japan on Thursday. Photos: Iskandar Rashdan.

Peng Yang on the run in China’s 7-0 win over Hong Kong to top Pool A and set up a semi-final against Japan on Thursday. Photos: Iskandar Rashdan.

September 25, 2013: India beat hosts Malaysia 2-0 on Tuesday to finish second in Pool A and set up a clash with three-time champions Korea in the semi-finals of the Women’s Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur.

 

Defending champions China will face East Asian rivals Japan in the second semi-final on Thursday, ensuring the same four teams make up the final four for the seventh successive edition of the event.

 

India (white) battled to a 2-0 win over hosts Malaysia to round out a familiar final four.

India (white) battled to a 2-0 win over hosts Malaysia to round out a familiar final four.

After a scoreless first half, India took the lead through Poonam Rani in the third minute of the second half and the 2004 champions extended their lead seven minutes later when Lily Chanu Mayengbam converted a penalty corner.

 

The result ended Malaysia’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals and they will face Chinese Taipei in the fifth-eighth place playoffs when the tournament resumes on Thursday.

 

China, winners in 1989 and 2009, continued their winning streak with a comfortable 7-0 win over Hong Kong, scoring five times in the second half.

 

All China’s goals came from open play, with teenager Liang Meiyu scoring a hat-trick (27’, 46’, 51’), while Peng Yang (13’), Xu Xiaoxu (37’), Xi Xiayun (42’) and Wang Na (49’) also scored. Hong Kong finished bottom of Pool A and will face Kazakhstan in the playoffs for the lower places.

 

Korea, champions in 1985, 1993 and 1999, finished top of Pool B with three wins. Hong Kyong-suep’s side were 6-2 up at half-time against Chinese Taipei before scoring 10 goals in the second half.

 

Captain Kim Jong-eun led the charge with five goals, followed by Kim Da-rae with four and Cheong Eun-bi with a hat-trick. Cheon Seul-ki scored twice, while Park Seun-a, Lee Young-sil and Park Ki-ju also netted.

 

Japan forward Akane Shibata scored twice in the 12-0 win over Kazakhstan.

Japan forward Akane Shibata scored twice in the 12-0 win over Kazakhstan.

Japan then sharpened up their attacking instincts with a 12-0 win over Kazakhstan to confirm second place in the pool, with forward Mazuki Arai scoring a hat-trick.

 

London Olympian Akane Shibata and fellow forward Aya Ueda both scored two goals, while defenders Akiko Ota, Mayumi Ono and Shiho Sakai netted. Captain and midfielder Miyuki Nakagawa and forward Aki Mitsuhashi, two of five London Olympians in the squad, rounded out the scorers.

 

The Asia Cup is also a 2014 World Cup qualifier, although China and Korea have already booked their tickets to Holland through the World Hockey League. Japan and India will qualify automatically for the World Cup if they win the Asia Cup.

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