Ordos (China): The Indian women's hockey team crashed to their third consecutive defeat, losing to China 0-4 under cold and windy conditions in their last group match at the Asian Champions Trophy on Thursday.

India, who lost to Korea and Japan in the first two matches, will now play Japan for the bronze medal match on Saturday.

China scored through Yudiao Zhao (6th, 66th) and Yibo Ma (23rd, 65th). At the break, China led 2-0.

India did try to put up a fight but the attacks were too sporadic to be effective. The forwards were wayward and without cohesion and Chinese defence was never stretched.

China, on the other hand, bottled up the midfield and dictated play. After two goals they relaxed and waited for errors from the Indian defence to capitalise on it.

For India, the only player to leave any mark on the match was midfielder Asunta Lakra. She worked tirelessly and sent some wonderful through balls but it was quite apparent that the Indian forwards were not fully fit.

Rani Rampal, quite a poacher and a good striker, seemed out of sorts in the tournament.

India squandered as many as five penalty corners chances as their hits were not effective or sharp enough to trouble the rival goalkeeper.

If India kept the score line at four goals, credit must be given to Yogita Bali, the Indian goalkeeper who kept out a minimum of four goal bound shots in the second half.

By the middle of the second half, the Indians just went through the motions as the forward line faded away leaving the defence to handle the Chinese strikers.

India will now have to pull something out of the ordinary to beat Japan and pick up a bronze in the tournament.

In an earlier match, Korea beat Japan 1-0 to finish second in the group and will now meet China in the final on Saturday. Korea scored through Cheon Seul Ki off a penalty corner in the 14th minute.

(Agencies)