DONGHAE CITY: India failed to defend its crown at the fifth women's Asian Champions Trophy after it lost 0-1 to hosts South Korea in the summit clash here today.
South Korea ket a resolute defence and score the only goal of the match in the 24th minute when Youngsil Lee found the back of the net from a field effort.
India's defence was tested in the early stages as South Korea started the game well, winning possession in the midfield and putting pressure on the opposition. However, India defended their lines well and tried to surprsie the Koreans on counters.
South Korea had better chances in the first period but the opening 15 minutes ended goal-less as both the teams failed to find an opening. But the Koreans dominated the second quarter and won three penalty corners in a span of two minutes, but Indian goalkeeper Savita made some good reflex saves to deny the hosts.
The Koreans tasted success in the 24th minute when they caught Indian defence on a counter-attack. Mi Hyun Park made a darting run towards the baseline on the right flank and passed the ball across the Indian goal, which was deflected into the back of the net by Lee to give her team the lead.
India struggled to build momentum after going behind as the hosts took their one-goal lead into the half-time break. Trailing, the onus was on India to find the equaliser. But South Korea didn't let the Indian attackers find space inside their striking circle. The hosts sat back in their own half for rest of the match, and looked to hit India on the counters.
The Koreans came close to scoring again in the 43rd minute when Mi Hyun Park found herself in one-on-one with situation an Indian defender inside the striking circle, but her shot was saved by Savita. Korea had another chance to extend their lead in the 44th minute as they won their fourth penalty corner, but Savita's heroics continued as she parried away the shot to keep India in the match.
It was down to the Indian team to take the initiative in the last quarter as Korea sat deep in their own half and invited India to play long balls. It was a move that favoured the Koreans as they defended their flanks well, and did not allow the Indian attackers to find possession in their striking circle. It was a tense final few minutes for both the sides as India went hard in search of the equaliser and replaced their goalkeeper Savita with an outfield player. But the Koreans' tight marking in the midfield made sure that they kept their lead intact as India failed to create a goal-scoring opportunity. South Korea lifted the title for the third time after having won it in 2010 and 2011.
India, on the other hand, finished second best for the second time after having lost in the final of the 2013 edition to Japan. Indian striker Vandana Katariya was declared player of the tournament while youngster Lalremsiami was named as the upcoming player of the tournament. Besides, striker Navneet Kaur and Vandana Katariya finished as joint top-scorer in the tournament along with China's Xiaoming Song.