It was a scrappy performance from the Indian women in their final game of the round two of Hockey World League against Russia.
India won 1-0 to finish on top of the points table, advancing to the next round.
The game was rendered inconsequential after Malaysia lost its game earlier in the day as India and Japan, the top placed teams in the fray, were assured of a spot in the next round regardless of India’s result. The teams were locked goalless at half time, India failing to breach the Russian defence due to a combination of poor finishing, conceding a lot of turnovers and not learning from past mistakes.
India continued to attack from the left flank but could not get the breakthrough. Even midfield possession, India’s strength so far, was not up to the mark.
The Indians were also outrun and beaten in fitness, indicating there was still a lot of improvement required. The second half was similar though the Indians were more attacking and managed to earn a couple of penalty corners that were wasted.
The Indian women finally broke the deadlock in the 51st minute through one of their rare attacks from the right, Anupa Barla’s hit into the striking circle deflected on to the board by Rani Rampal.
Russia had its chances, earning three penalty corners and coming close on several other occasions, but was unable to score. Its best chance came in the 33rd minute with Ekaterina Shaburova having only Indian goalkeeper Yogita Bali to beat but hit straight to her.
Japan moves up
Earlier, Japan beat Malaysia 4-0 to become the first team to move into the next round. Kazakhstan defeated Fiji by an identical margin in another game.
The results: India 1 (Rani Rampal) bt Russia 0; Japan 4 (Ayaka Nishimura, Aki Mitsuhashi, Akiko Kato, Aya Ueda) bt Malaysia 0; Kazakhstan 4 (Natalya Gataulina, Vera Domashneva 2, Gulnara Imangaliyeva) bt Fiji 0.
Keywords: Hockey World League