India’s women’s hockey team came from within a goal to beat the United States 4-2 in their opener of the FIH Pro League double-header here on Tuesday.
Danielle Grega put the United States ahead in the 28th minute with a downfield effort before the Indians stormed back into the game scoring through Deep Grace Ekka (31st), Navneet Kaur (32nd) and Sonika (40th) to take a 3-1. conduct.
The Americans closed the gap in the 45th minute with a conversion from a Natalie Konerth penalty corner before Vandana Katariya sealed the game in India’s favor with a 50th-minute basket.
India started on a high note but it was USA who got the first chance in the form of a 10th minute penalty corner but squandered it.
Soon, the Indians had the first shot on goal but Gurjit Kaur’s effort from a penalty corner missed the target.
In the 22nd minute, USA earned back-to-back penalty corners but wasted both. Vandana’s double effort down the pitch in the 27th minute was well defended by USA but in the process India were awarded a penalty corner but to no avail.
A minute later, the United States opened the deadlock as Grega headed the ball into the goal with a smooth pass from Erin Matson from midfield past India goalkeeper Bichu Devi Kharibam. With just 45 seconds into the third quarter, India equalized through Deep Grace’s penalty corner conversion before Navneet surprised the Americans with a brilliant placement on Vandana’s pass after a fine comeback from the right flank. The Indians had their chances in the form of penalty corners but squandered them. In the 39th minute, Bichu Devi made a superb save to thwart the Americans. A minute later, Sonika extended India’s lead with a field goal, thanks to a defensive lapse from the Americans. The USA did not give up and closed the gap in the third quarter thanks to a conversion into a penalty corner from Konerth.
Five minutes into the fourth and final quarter, India reclaimed their two-goal lead when Vandana scored with a ferocious shot from the right.
Thereafter, both teams struggled to score goals, especially the United States, but failed to break through India’s resolute defence.
India and USA will face off again in the second game of the encounter on Wednesday. Argentina have already won the title, finishing with 42 points from 16 games, while India, making their tournament debut, are ranked third with 27 points from 13 games.
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