Two brilliant goals from forward Rani Rampal helped India bag their first win of the Fintro Hockey World League Semifinals. The Indian women defeated Poland 3-1 to earn their first points. Interestingly, the Indian men’s team defeated the same opposition 3-0 a day ago.
First half: Rani Rampal scores brace to put India 2-0 ahead
On the back of a 5-0 drubbing against New Zealand on Tuesday, the Indian eves were desperately in need of a win to stay alive in the race for an Olympic berth. The women in blue initially struggled to find momentum as the forwards spilled a couple of chances in the Polish half. They finally gained momentum in the second quarter and made more circle penetrations.
In the 20th minute, Rani Rampal fired home the opener off a penalty corner to give India a 1-0 lead. Nine minutes later, the Indian forward was once again on the ball as she displayed brilliant individual skills to cut past the Polish defenders inside a circle and finish into the empty net to double the lead. India enjoyed over 65% possession in the opponent’s half but lacked finishing as they managed to convert only 2 out of 14 circle penetrations.
Second half: Poland pull one back, Katariya makes it 3-1 for India
The Indian women got off to a sluggish start in the third quarter and looked more defensive in their approach. Poland on the other hand, took advantage of their opponents’ fall in speed and initiated a couple of counter-attacks but failed to land the finishing hit.
India conceded a goal in the final quarter as Natalia Wisniewska made a smart deflection inside the circle to pull one back for Poland in the 49th minute. The Indian goalkeeper could not react as her vision was completely blocked by Monika, the defender.
In the 54th minute, Rani fired in another shot directed slightly away from the goal post but a timely stick-placement from Vandana Katariya at the right ensured that the ball found the back of the net. At full time the scorecard read 3-1 in favour of India. They are now placed third on the Pool B table, behind New Zealand and Australia.
India 3 (Rani Rampal 20′, 29′, Vandana Katariya 54′) beat Poland 1 (Natalia Wisniewska 49′)