Confident women hockey team of hosts India defeated Thailand by 5-0 to set up final against Poland in the Hero FIH Hockey World League Round 2 (Women) being played at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi.
Poland, who lost to India in league by 2-0, defeated Malaysia by 1-0 in semi final and will now be up against so far unbeaten team in the tournament, India, in the finals of the League tomorrow, 15 March 2015 at 2000 HRS IST. With this win the Indian and Polish teams have also secured qualification in the all important World League Round 3 (Semi Finals) to be conducted later in the year.
Led by the very able skipper Ritu Rani, the Indian eves started off the game on a high with an intention to create pressure on the opposite team while on a constant watch-out for prospects to score and take a lead in the game. India was given a penalty stroke in the 11th minute. Jaspreet Kaur took the strike and very confidently put the ball in the nets. With this, the host team took a lead of 1-0 before the closure of the first quarter.
Riding high on the confidence of the lead, the Indian women were awarded a penalty corner in the first minute of the second quarter. With Sunita Lakra on the strike and no chance of slip-ups, the chance availed was efficiently converted into the second goal of the match, doubling the lead for the team. Playing an intense and a swift game, Poonam Rani skilfully touched the ball in the 22nd minute directing it towards the goal post as it swung past the Thailand goalkeeper to touch the mesh. By way of this dazzling field goal, India was three goals ahead of Thailand at the end of first half.
The team in blue kept up their momentum in the third quarter as well. Coming out all attacking, India continuously took shots at the goal post through the gaps in the Thailand defence. Thailand put in all their efforts to restrict the Indian eves but keeping in view the speed and thrust of their game could not do anything unusual to confine them from seeking scoring prospects. In the quest of scoring further, the Indian Women Hockey Team had another goal added to its kitty when Rani Rampal pumped-in a lovely field goal in the 40th minute elevating the score to 4-nil with the home team in the forefront.
India again was given a penalty corner in the initial minutes of the last quarter but could not realise the chance. In the 53rd minute, Amandeep Kaur of India scored the fifth goal of the match, a penalty corner conversion as the Indian women team took an insuperable advancement of 5-0 over Thailand. Though the visiting team made several attempts to score and lessen the score gap, they could not do the needful as India defeated Thailand 5-0 to barge into the finals.
In high spirits post today’s victory and confident ahead of the finals tomorrow, Coach of Indian Women Hockey Team, Roelant Oltmans said, “We managed to dominate the entire match though the opposition played a very defensive game and it was difficult to find space in their half. We successfully materialised the opportunities we received and all the players, especially Vandana, played very well today. The job is done half done for us and there are areas to improve before tomorrow’s match. As I had predicted earlier that India will face Poland in the final match and we are expecting a good show tomorrow by both the teams”.
Remarking on the team’s performance in today’s game, Coach of Thailand Young Wook Bae said, “Today we played a defensive game and expected a positive result but after conceding three goals our players lost confidence but I am happy with the performance. Tomorrow we will face our known opponent Malaysia and we will give our 100% to win the match.”
The Indian Women Hockey Team will now play against Poland in the finals of the Hero FIH Hockey World League Round 2 (Women) tomorrow 15 March 2015 at 2000 HRS IST at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi.
The matches of the Hero FIH World League Round 2 (Women) are being telecast LIVE and exclusive on DD Sports.
Match Schedule: Tomorrow, 15 March 2015
1315 HRS: Singapore vs. Ghana (7th/8th place)
1530 HRS: Kazakhstan vs. Russia (5th/6th place)
1745 HRS: Thailand vs. Malaysia (3rd/4th place)
2000 HRS: India vs. Poland (FINAL)