Continuing their struggling form at the underway Hawke’s Bay Cup 2016, Indian women hockey team lost their last pool game to China 2-1, in a thriller on Tuesday.
The match started slowly, with most of the battles taking place in the midfield and both teams struggling to penetrate the circle. China had the best opportunity of the quarter with a penalty corner, which was well saved by Indian goalkeeper Savita Poonia to keep the scoreline 0-0, till first quarter.
India started the second quarter aggressively as Ritu Rani scored off a swiftly worked counter from the right, giving India the lead in the 19th minute. China immediately hit back, and earned a PC of their own. However, Savita repeated her heroics and saved another PC to ensure India’s lead intact.
The Indian eves appeared strong on defence in the third quarter as China controlled most of the possession. Indian defender Monika Malik looked invincible at marshalling the defence and dropping deep to ensure the numbers denied China openings for goal. With the last play of the quarter though, China scored an equaliser through Yu Qian.
The final quarter witnessed high-spark competition as both teams were seeking a winner goal. Deepika Thakur, took charge and had a couple of half chances that went wide of the post. Wang Mengyu scored the winner for China through a PC with five minutes left on the clock.
Responding on defeat, Indian eves’ coach CR Kumar said after the game, “We gave a tough game today to a team that are higher ranked than us. Crucial mistakes at the end of the final quarters denied us the points. Our defence was secure, but we now need to focus on getting the ball upfield quicker to score goals.”