Bangkok: India`s gold medal hopes in the girls U-18 Asia Cup hockey tournament went up in smoke after they went down fighting 3-4 to Japan in the second semi-final on Friday.
Japan will play China in the title clash after the Chinese upset favourites Korea 3-2 via golden goal in the first semi-final.
India will now play Korea for the bronze medal match onSunday.
For India, Navjot Kaur (2nd minute), Anupa Barla (52nd) and Jaspreet Kaur (70th min) scored today while Minami Shimuzu (19th), Satokei (31st), Aimi Ozeki (48th) and Yukina Maeda (61st min) were the goal-getters for Japan.
Even though both the teams started cautiously in intermittent rains, it was India who surged ahead as early as in the second minute of the match through Navjot`s strike after she was set up by Nikki Pradhan.
Japan steadily clawed back when they equalised in the 19th minute and went 2-1 ahead four minutes before the half time to go into the breather with a goal cushion.
The Japanese increased their lead when Ozeki slotted past India goalkeeper Bigan Soy in the 48th minute.
However, a good combined attack from forwards Poonam Rani and Anupa Barla enabled India to reduce the margin three minutes later.
India accelerated their onslaughts thereafter but Japan rallied with a turnover in the 61st minute to establish a 4-2 lead.
India, who were awarded four penalty corners as against none to their opponents, finally scored converted one set piece at the stroke of the hooter through Jaspreet Kaur.