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Goalkeeper Savita was the shootout star as India edged past China to the women’s Asia Cup title, thereby securing a spot in in next year’s hockey World Cup. Savita produced a brilliant save in the shootout as India became continental champions after a gap of 13 years.

After the teams were locked 1-1 in regulation time, skipper Rani Rampal converted the final attempt for the Indians to ensure a 5-4 win at Kakamigahara Kawasaki Stadium in Japan. India did not qualify for the last World Cup in the Netherlands and finished ninth in the 2010 edition in Argentina.

Chief coach Harendra Singh tasted success in the first tournament since taking over from Dutchman Sjoerd Marijne, who moved on to handle the national men’s team. Rani was on target twice while Monica, Lilima Minz and Navjot Kaur also found the target in the shootout. Navjot had given Indian the lead in the 25th minute while China equalised through a penalty corner conversion by Tiantian Luo in the 47th minute. India had last won the women’s Asia Cup in 2004, beating Japan 1-0.

Apart from her exploits in the shootout, Savita produced several saves in regulation time and was adjudged the Goalkeeper of the Tournament. Both teams played an attacking game, but the first quarter ended goalless. Navjot almost scored a field goal in the 17th minute but her diving effort was blocked, even as Rani went for a deflection.

India broke the deadlock when Navneet Kaur and Rani played a neat 1-2 before penetrating the circle, allowing Navjot to score from a clear shot. China went all out in search of the equaliser but the Indian defence held firm.

India tried to get the second goal in the third quarter, which remained elusive. The final quarter was a tense affair. China won a penalty corner after a successful video referral, and Tiantian Luo found the bottom right corner of the post to level matters. Both teams went for a winner in the closing stages of regulation time, creating chances which were to no avail.