The path to the semifinals for the defending champion, Japan, and three-time winner, Korea, seems to be well carved out in the seventh edition of the Asia Cup women’s hockey championship here on Sunday.

With authoritative victories in Pool B, both on their third encounter without a hint of trouble, enabled them to garner nine points each.

While Korea whipped Kazakhstan by a whopping margin of 15-0 to take its tally to 42 goals in three matches, Japan overwhelmed Chinese Taipei by seven goals to nil to take the second spot at this point in Pool B with an aggregate of 37 goals.

It is fruitless to examine these results with an analytical yardstick. Once again, the leeway that divides the top four and the rest in the continent came out glaringly.

Quite predictably, there is a lot more at stake when Korea and Japan comes to grips on Tuesday to secure the top spot in the pool.

Against this background, the 3-0 verdict for China against Malaysia in Pool A came out in some contrast. It is difficult to visualise what exactly the Korean master tactician, Kim Sang Ryul, who is now coaching the women’s team, has up his sleeve.

The Chinese display on Sunday was totally devoid of pace, precision and persistence. Every player looked satisfied going through their paces. Obviously, they do not want to stretch beyond the necessary until the match against India comes off on Tuesday.

Monday is a rest day.

The results: Pool A: China 4 (Ma Yibo, Zhago Yu Diao, Li Hong Xia, De Jiao Jiao) beat Malaysia 0; Singapore 1 (Nursabrina Banuh) beat Thailand 0.

Pool B: Hong Kong 3 (Barbara Helen 2, Nicole Emett) beat Sri Lanka 0; Korea 15 (Hye Lyong Han, Jong Eun Kim 6, Mihuan Pak 2, Da Rae Kim 2, Bomi Kim, Eun Sil Kim, Young Ran Kim, Sehui Tak) beat Kazakhstan 0; Japan 7 (Sato Masako, Keiko Miura 2, Arai Mizuki, Rika Komazawa, Kana Nagayama, Mizuki Ozawa) beat Chinese Taipei 0.

More In: Hockey | Sport