ROTTERDAM: The Indian women’s hockey team came from a goal down to beat USA 4-2 in its first match of the FIH Pro League double-header here on Tuesday.
Danielle Grega gave USA the lead in the 28th minute through a field goal before the Indians forced their way back into the match by scoring through Deep Grace Ekka (31st), Navneet Kaur (32nd) and Sonika (40th) to take a 3-1 lead.
The Americans reduced the margin in the 45th minute through Natalie Konerth’s penalty corner conversion before Vandana Katariya sealed the game in India’s favour with a field goal in the 50th minute.
India started on a positive note but it was USA who got the first chance in the form of a penalty corner in the 10th minute but squandered it.
Soon the Indians had the first shot at the goal but Gurjit Kaur‘s effort from a penalty corner missed the target.
In the 22nd minute, USA secured back-to-back penalty corners but wasted both. Vandana’s twin efforts from field play in the 27th minute was defended well by USA but in the process India secured a penalty corner but to no avail.
A minute later, USA broke the deadlock through Grega who steered the ball into the goal from an Erin Matson’s lofted pass from midfield, past Indian goalkeeper Bichu Devi Kharibam.
Just 45 seconds into the third quarter, India drew parity through Deep Grace’s penalty corner conversion before Navneet stunned the Americans with a brilliant field goal from Vandana’s pass after a fine build up from the right flank.
The Indians had their chances in the form of penalty corners but wasted them.
In the 39th minute, Bichu Devi made a brilliant save to deny the Americans.
A minute later, Sonika extended India’s lead with a field goal, courtesy a defensive lapse from the Americans.
USA did not give up and reduced the margin just at the stroke of the third quarter through a penalty corner conversion by Konerth.
Five minutes into the fourth and final quarter, India reclaimed their two-goal advantage when Vandana scored with a fierce shot from the right.
Thereafter, both the teams tried hard for goals, especially USA but they failed to breach the resolute Indian defence.
India and USA will again face each other in the second match of the tie on Wednesday.
Argentina has already claimed the title, finishing with 42 points from 16 matches, while India, making their debut in the tournament, are placed third with 27 points from 13 games.
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