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Hockey: Japan crush China, Korea edge India to set up Asia Cup final

Japan (pictured) will face Korea in the Asia Cup final, a repeat of the 2007 finalists. Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek.

Japan (pictured) will face Korea in the Asia Cup final, a repeat of the 2007 finalists. Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek.

September 26, 2013: Japan crushed holders China 4-1 in Kuala Lumpur to reach the final of the Women’s Asia Cup for the third time in four editions, having missed out in 2009 when China beat India 5-3 in Bangkok.

 

Japan will face Korea – who beat India 2-1 in the earlier semi-final – in a repeat of the 2007 final, when Japan prevailed 7-6 on penalty strokes in Hong Kong after a 1-1 draw.

 

The Japanese have an added incentive in Friday’s final as the winners of the Asia Cup earn a place in next year’s World Cup. Korea and China have already booked their places in the Netherlands.

 

Japan took control of their clash with China early on with goals from forwards Mazuki Arai (8th minute) and London Olympian Akane Shibata (18th), and went in 2-0 ahead at half-time.

 

The 2007 champions then stretched their lead seven minutes into the second half through midfielder Shiho Otsuka, three minutes later forward Aki Mitsuhashi made it 4-0 from a penalty corner, while Peng Yang reduced the deficit in the 52nd minute.

 

Otsuka, Mitsuhashi, captain Miyuki Nakagawa – a three-time Olympian – and defender Keiko Manabe are other London 2012 veterans.

 

Korea beat India 2-1 in the first semi-final.

Korea beat India 2-1 in the first semi-final.

Korea, champions in 1985, 1993 and 1999, had booked their place through early penalty corners by Cheon Seul-ki (2nd minute) and Cheon Eun-bi (9th), while Ritu Ranu pulled one back for India in the 41st minute.

 

In the 5th-8th playoffs, hosts Malaysia thrashed Chinese Taipei 7-0 with Fazilla Silin scoring twice, once either side of half-time.

 

Norazlin Sumantri (4th minute), Nadia Abd Rahman (5th) and Rabiatul Adawiyah (15th) also scored in the first half, while late in the second, Nur Amarina converted a 61st-minute penalty stroke and Fatin Syafika added the seventh in the 69th minute.

 

Kazakhstan crushed Hong Kong 5-0, although the Central Asian side only led 1-0 at half-time through a ninth-minute opener by Algerim Makhanova. Natalya Gataulina and Makhanova scored back-to-back goals in the fifth minute of the second period, before Aleesa Chepkassova scored the fourth in the 52nd minute and Gulnara Imagaliyena rounded off the rout in the 69th.

 

Hosts Malaysia will battle Kazakhstan for fifth place on Friday, while Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei will square off for seventh spot and bid to avoid last place.

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