CWG’ 18: Indian eves beat England, keep semis hopes alive

Gold Coast: The Indian women’s hockey team maintained their hopes of qualifying for the semi-final of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games as they produced an emphatic 2-1 victory over world No. 2 England in Pool A here on Sunday.

It was an impressive performance from the Indian team as they came from a goal behind to snatch a much-needed victory.

Goals for India were scored by Navneet Kaur (42′) and Gurjit Kaur (48′) while skipper Alexandra Danson was the lone scorer for England.

It was a tough start for the Indian team as they conceded an early goal in the match as a good team-move from England saw their captain Danson score a goal after just 35 seconds.

The 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medalists caused India a few problems in the initial five minutes of the match, but Savita made sure that Danson’s second shot in the 4th minute was saved. India also got into the rhythm of the game as Namita Toppo and Lalremsiami both attempted shots at the English goal but the former shot wide while the latter’s shot was saved by England’s goalkeeper Madeleine Hinch.

India were also unable to utilize a penalty corner which they were awarded in the 8th minute as the team failed to attempt a shot on goal.

In the second quarter, England put pressure on the world No 10 side as they won themselves an early penalty corner, however, the drag-flick was shot wide by Giselle Ansley. Another shot at goal in the 19th minute by Hannah Martin required a good save from Indian goalkeeper Savita while Elena Rayer couldn’t find the target in the 21st minute.

The Indian team was under constant pressure throughout the second quarter as England won three successive penalty corners. However, Grace Balsdon’s attempts at the Indian goal were saved well by Savita to keep her side in the match.

It was crucial for India to make a strong comeback after halftime. Just 38 seconds into the third quarter, India’s Vandana Katariya had a glorious chance to equalise the score but her shot was saved by England goalkeeper Hinch. In the 38th minute, it was skipper Rani’s turn to take a penalty corner, however, the Indian ace forward could not keep her shot on target.

India kept threatening by creating opportunities and were quick to regain possession that was rightly rewarded in the 42nd minute when Vandana Katariya’s pass to Navneet Kaur was slotted home by the latter to score the equaliser for India.

In the 48th minute, Rani made a darting run but her shot from inside the circle was impeded by an English defender which resulted in the referee awarding India a penalty stroke. Gurjit Kaur was given the responsibility she kept her calm to strike past Hinch’s left side to score from the spot.

With just 12 minutes left on the clock, India had to make sure that they did not let the English attacking line find too much space inside the striking circle. Ansley failed to convert a penalty corner again in the 56th minute which turned out to be the last effort as India closed the game with 2-1.

The Indian eves will next take on South Africa in their fourth Pool A match on April 10. (ANI)