Indian women hold Australia

Delighted: The Indian women cannot hide their joy after holding World No. 2 to a draw.  

The Indian women’s hockey team came back twice to hold World No. 2 Australia 2-2 in a round-robin league match of the Olympic test event here on Sunday.

Vandana Katariya (36th) and Gurjit Kaur (59th) cancelled out strikes by Kaitlin Nobbs (14th) and Grace Stewart (43rd). India had beaten host Japan 2-1 on Saturday.

World No. 10 India matched Australia’s attacking hockey with its own brand of aggression. But in the 14th minute, Australia was awarded a penalty stroke and Nobbs made no mistake.

Australia dominated the second quarter completely, putting the Indian team under intense pressure through multiple attacks and penalty corners. But India’s defence held firm and goalkeeper Savita made a couple of great saves.

The third quarter again saw Australia dominate possession and create a couple of goal-scoring opportunities through penalty corners. However, Savita again denied the Australians.

India struck on the break as Vandana finished off a superb move to equalise in the 36th minute. But the lead did not last long.

It was in the 43rd minute that Australia found its second goal through some exquisite team work, which saw Stewart registering her name on the score-sheet.

It was a tough task after that for the Indians, denied space inside the striking circle. However, the Indians kept looking for the equaliser.

With moves breaking down, and chances going waste, it looked like Australia would hold onto the 2-1 lead, but with just a couple of minutes remaining, India won a penalty corner.

And, prolific drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur stepped up and struck a sweet blow into the back of the net to earn India a well-deserved draw.

The Indian women will face China on Tuesday in their third and last round-robin match.

Meanwhile, the Indian men squandered an early lead to lose 2-1 to New Zealand.

Skipper Harmanpreet Singh converted a penalty corner to put India ahead in the second minute, but New Zealand struck back in the last quarter through Jacob Smith (47th) and Sam Lane (60th).

India will face Japan on Tuesday.

World No. 5 India’s aggressive approach had New Zealand under constant pressure, but the World No. 8 side defended well, and denied India another goal before the break.

Harmanpreet, after his second-minute strike, had another chance in the 42nd minute, but New Zealand goalkeeper Richard Joyce pulled off a fine save. The last quarter of the match saw New Zealand turn around and attack on the counter.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 4:59:54 PM |

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