Indian women snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in their toughest match of the Hockey World League round two, losing 5-4 to the higher-ranked Japan.

The match went into penalty shootout after the teams were locked 2-2 at full time.

However, despite the loss, India remains on top of the table by virtue of more outright wins.

India has won three games in regulation time while Japan has won only two. India and Japan are tied on 10 points each while Malaysia is on nine.

For almost 60 minutes of the game, India was restricted to its own half.

Japan was far superior in the second half too, and hardly gave India any space to move with tight marking. Skipper Ritu Rani was again the only player who managed to create space but her efforts were nullified. It was finally Ritu who helped create India’s fifth penalty corner. Jaspreet Kaur’s grounded hit was deflected in by Soundarya Yendala. A minute later, Rani Rampal’s free hit was deflected in by Anupa Barla.

In penalties, Roselin Dung Dung and Soundarya Yendala were on target while Chanchan Devi, Ritu Rani and Vandana Katariya missed for India.

Mazuki Arai, Yuri Nagai and Rika Komazawa scored for Japan while Akiko Ota and Akiko Kato missed.

Other results: Russia 8 (Ekaterina Shaburova 3, Alina Krasnoperova, Kristina Shumilina, Vera Domashneva, Daria Vasileva, Evgenia Sorokina) bt Kazakhstan 1 (Natalya Sazontova); Malaysia 12 (Siti Noor Amarina Ruhani 3, Nadia Abdul Rahman 3, Silin Fazilla Sylvester 2, Nor Azlin Sumantri 2, Siti Rahmah Othman, Juliani Mohamad Din) bt Fiji 0.

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