The Indian women’s hockey team produced a dominating performance to outclass USA 4-0 in the second-leg match to finish a creditable third in its debut season at the FIH Pro League in Rotterdam on Wednesday. The Indians had earlier defeated USA 4-2 in the first match of the double header on Tuesday. Vandana Katariya (39th, 54th) scored a brace, while Sonika (54th) and Sangita Kumari (58th) sounded the board once for India. Argentina have already won the title with Netherlands finishing second.
USA started the match on a bright note and secured the first chance of the match a as early as in the second minute, but Elizabeth Yeager’s high shot was easily saved by India skipper and goalkeeper Savita. The Indians too had their chances soon after but Sharmila Devi wasted a golden opportunity as she failed to beat USA goalkeeper from close range.
As usual, Salima Tete was a live wire from the right flank, creating chances for her side with her defence-splitting runs.
The Americans secured their second penalty corner in the 11th minute but wasted the chance.
USA once again started positively after the quarter break but the Indians drew in confidence as the match progressed.
India secured their first penalty corner in the 23rd minute but failed to execute the set piece.
The Indians kept on attacking thereafter and earned two more penalty corners but the end result was the same as both the teams failed to break the deadlock at half time.
Three minutes into the third quarter, India secured a penalty corner but Navneet Kaur’s trap shot after initial fumble from the stopper was saved easily by USA goalkeeper Kelsey Bing. But it was Janneke Schopman’s girls who broke the deadlock in the 39th minute when Vandana got a faint touch to deflect in Gurjit Kaur’s flick from India’s fifth penalty corner.
The Indians had numerous chances in the last two quarters. Navneet missed a sitter as her slap shot in front of an open goal went over the post.
The Americans secured a penalty corner in the 43rd minute but India defended well.
India then scored three goals in a span of four minutes to seal the match.
First, Vandana scored an open goal from a build up from the right flank and then seconds later, Sonika found the USA net from a goalmouth melee from another attack from the right.
India skipper Savita soon made a double save to deny the Americans from a penalty corner.
Young Sangita too registered her name in the scoresheet with a fabulous field goal in the 57th minute.
The last chance of the match fell before USA in the form of another penalty corner but they wasted it.
The win will boost India’s confidence ahead of the Women’s World Cup to be co-hosted by the Netherlands and Spain from July 1 to 17.
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