Muscat [Oman], February 1 (ANI): After starting off their FIH Hockey Pro League 2021/22 campaign with a sensational 7 - 1 win over China, India continued their winning run in the tournament, defeating China 2-1 in a thrilling contest here at the Sultan Qaboos Complex in Muscat, Oman on Tuesday.
The Savita-led Indian side's victory was sealed by two goals from dragflicker Gurjit Kaur (3', 49'), while Shumin Wang (39') scored the sole goal for China. With the win, India climbed to the top of the points table, tied alongside The Netherlands with 6 points in two games.
India started the match on the front foot, moving quickly from back to front, bypassing China's midfield. India managed to get an early PC in the third minute of the match which was converted by Gurjit with a low, powerful hit to give her team a 1-0 lead. China immediately started a counter-attack, but Sushila Chanu defended well in her own circle to deny the opposition. India continued to press high in China's half, and Vandana Katariya received a golden opportunity to score, but her shot from inside the circle went wide off the goalpost. India kept possession for most of the first quarter, not allowing China to get any move going, and maintained their 1-0 lead in the first 15 minutes.
At the start of 2nd quarter, China pressed high in India's circle, but Nikki Pradhan defended well to clear the danger. In the 18th minute, Navneet Kaur tried to find Vandana Katariya inside the circle from the right flanks, but her cross went wide and India could not extend their lead. A move from the left flank in the 26th minute saw Ishika Chaudhary trying to cross the ball to Monika who was standing in front of the goalpost. But China defended well to clear the danger once again. India faced some nervy moments in the final minute of the 2nd quarter with three China players entering the circle, but the Indian defence stood tall and maintained their 1-0 lead at Half Time.
India started the second half aggressively with Sharmila Devi getting a chance to increase the lead in the first minute of the third quarter. But her reverse hit went wide, and once again India were unable to convert the opportunity. China started counter-attacking display, as they started moving deeper inside India's half. A dangerous move from China from the left flank caught Indian defence off-guard as Wang Shumin struck the ball inside the empty nets to get the equaliser in the 39th minute. A challenge on Monika inside the circle, two minutes later, earned India a Penalty Corner. But the dragflick from Gurjit Kaur was saved by China goalkeeper. India received another Penalty Corner a minute later. But it reaped no rewards as well, and the scoreline remained India 1-1 China by the end of third quarter.
India showcased their attacking intent immediately at the start of the fourth quarter, earning a penalty corner straightaway in the 47th minute. But Deep Grace Ekka's dragflick went wide off the goalpost. In the 49th minute, India received their second penalty corner of the fourth quarter, and this time, Gurjit Kaur converted with another fantastic dragflick, giving India a 2-0 lead. China started working hard to try and find the equaliser but India kept their calm and ensured no further slip-ups. With five minutes left on the clock, India received two back-to-back penalty corners, but Deep Grace Ekka was unable to convert them into goals. India slowed down the game in the final couple of minutes, as China tried to get the ball back to get the equaliser. But they were unable to break down India's defence and India won the thrilling contest 2-1.
The Indian Women's Hockey team will next face off against The Netherlands on February, 19th and February 20th at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. (ANI)