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Hockey World League: India struggles past Poland

India's Poonam Rani (15) slotted home a rebound in the 26th minute in thematch against Poland in the Hero Hockey World League. Photo: Sandeep Saxena  

India struggled to get past a defensive Poland, registering a 2-0 victory in its second match of the Hero Hockey World League round two at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here on Sunday.

India was on the attack from the start, but the attempts were off-target. Deep Grace Ekka had a good opportunity in the 12th minute but her first strike was deflected by Polish goalkeeper Marta Kucharska, and her second rebounded off the post.

Vandana Katariya opened the scoring with a backhand shot from the top of the striking circle a minute later. Poonam Rani doubled the lead in the 26th, slotting in a rebound after Amandeep Kaur’s shot from the left was blocked by Marta. But thereafter, there was little to excite in the game.

After a dominating 13-0 victory against Ghana on Saturday, India looked a completely different side, disjointed and seemingly unfocussed in the proceedings. Playing in constant drizzle, World No. 13 India committed numerous errors throughout the game, missing sitters in front of the goal and mis-passing in the middle to make heavy weather of the lower-ranked Poles. Ranked 26th, Poland was expected to provide little resistance, but surprised with some gritty defending.

Marta brought off some good saves even as the Indians were profligate with their chances.

Poland, on the other hand, made little effort to try and score, relying on the occasional counter-attack to get a look-in.

In fact, Poland earned the first penalty corner of the match in the 10th minute through a counter-attack, but frittered the chance as the drag-flicker pushed over the cage.

Coach Roelant Oltmans played both goalkeepers — Rajani and Savita — for two quarters each, but neither was tested. India earned its only penalty corner of the match two minutes from time, but Jaspreet Kaur’s weak shot was easily saved by Marta.

With Monday being a rest day, India will look to regroup for its final league match against Thailand, which beat Ghana 3-1 in its second league match, on Tuesday.

In Group B, Malaysia registered a 3-0 win over Russia while Vera Domashneva's twin strikes helped Kazakhstan win its first points in the tournament with a 4-0 victory over Singapore.

The results: Group A: India 2 (Vandana Katariya, Poonam Rani) bt Poland 0; Thailand 3 (Chantree Yungyuen 2, Kornkanok Sanpoung) bt Ghana 1 (Georgina Sam).

Group B: Kazakhstan 4 (Vera Domashneva 2, Natalya Sazontova, Olga Khonina) bt Singapore 0; Malaysia 3 (Juliani Din, Fazilla Sylvester Silin, Hanis Onn) bt Russia 0.


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Printable version | Dec 9, 2021 6:58:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/hero-hockey-world-league-india-struggles-past-poland/article6972062.ece

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