The Indian women’s hockey team have always found China a tough nut to crack in international competitions ever since both teams first met at the 1990 Beijing Asian Games. India and China have faced each other 27 times in international tourneys – India have won 8, lost 15 and drew 4. At the Asian Games and Asia Cup, Indian eves have always struggled to beat China. The script started to change from 2017 onwards when India pipped China 4-1 and 5-4 (1-1) in the final to win the 2017 Asia Cup – they also won 1-0 at the 2018 Asian Games, followed by their 2-0 win in the bronze medal play-off tie in the 2022 Asian Games. There have been very few occasions when India had prevailed over China in emphatic fashion.
At the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat, India inflicated a rare humiliation on China, handing them a 7-1 drubbing on a hot, energy-sapping day to begin their FIH Pro Hockey League campaign in style. It all seemed like China would mount a fightback after they trailed 0-3 when they pulled one in the 43rd minute. But the manner in which the Indian girls stepped on the gas in the final quarter and scored four goals, including three from penalty strokes to chalk up a never-seen-before heavy win over the Chinese eves, would
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The massive win would have sounded like exacting sweet revenge for a similar 1-6 thrashing handed to them by China at the 2010 Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos. Yes, it was many years back, and this big win would give the girls a lot of comfort and conviction that they can pulverise teams on any given day and reduce them like lesser-known teams.