Scotland, 24 July 2014: The Indian Women Hockey team started Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games with a 4-2 win over Canada in their opening match at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre, Scotland.
The match started with high momentum with both teams going on the attack immediately. India was awarded its first penalty corner opportunity in the 7th minute but was unable to convert the same. Canada realizing that the Indians were dominating them completely then went on the attack and in the 13th minute won a penalty corner but were unsuccessful also. While both the teams continued their attack on each other it was in the 21st minute when finally India scored through the stick of Rani giving her team the all required breakthrough and confidence. Canada immediately came back into the match and in the 24th minute it was B Stairs who gave her team the equalizer goal. This did not deter the Indians and within 4 minutes it was Poonam Rani who scored through a penalty corner and give the Indian team the lead 2-1 going into the break.
Coming into the second half India continued its momentum and bagged a penalty corner opportunity immediately and this time it was Jaspreet Kaur who scored in the 37th minute taking her team to a 3-1 lead. Canada in the 39th minute received a penalty corner opportunity and was in a good position to minimize the goal difference but failed to do so. In the 44th minute, it was Canada again who was awarded another penalty corner opportunity and this time K. Johansen stood tall and scored which helped her team reduce the goal margin and the scorecard read 3-2. The Indian team immediately went on the attack and in the 52nd minute Jaspreet Kaur yet again scored through a penalty corner. With this the score card read 4-2 and with India winning the match and pocketing 3 points from the match.
While their men counter-parts are all set to start their Glasgow 2014 campaign and the Indian Men’s Hockey Team is confident to deliver a power packed performance against Wales in their tournament opener on 25 July 2014.
Speaking on facing Wales in their first match, Chief Coach Terry Walsh said, “Wales will be seen full of enthusiasm but will probably play with a strong defensive mind set. The ability to create opportunities from congestion will be our major task, bringing penalty corners and then making those chances count will prove essential. The team is well placed and focused on the game that should create a good platform for our quest to finish in the top two of our pool. I expect Wales will be a very stoic and resilient team, our fast ball movement and swift transfers will undoubtedly be major weapons for us.”
Speaking before the match, Captain Sardar Singh said, “The whole team is pepped-up post the practice sessions and practice matches and are looking forward to a winning start. It will be the first time we will be playing against Wales and would not take the opponents lightly. I feel all the players at their respective positions are well prepared and more than ready to give this tournament a celebrating start.”
Both the sides will face each other for the second time in the Commonwealth Games and therefore the match can easily be classified as an unpredictable game. It has been 16 years since the 1998 Commonwealth Games where India and Wales met for the first time, therefore making it interesting to see how the two teams will perform this time around. Where Wales is expected to concentrate on making their defence stronger, the Indian Men will be using their swift transfers to sneak past the challenger’s defence line and sealing the game with a win.
Failing to qualify for the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games, Wales makes its comeback in the Commonwealth Games for the first time in 12 years and is expected to go all out from the very beginning. Where David Kettle of Wales will be the player to watch out for, Akashdeep Singh’s current form and a splendid show with 5 goals to his credit in the recently concluded World Cup 2014, will prove to be a major threat for Wales.
India will take on Wales in their opening game on 25th July 2014 at 13:30 HRS (IST) and will be telecasted on Ten Action, Ten Sports and Ten HD.