The Indian women’s hockey team launched their Commonwealth Games campaign on a rousing note, brushing aside the challenge of Canada 4-2 to log full points at the Glasgow National Hockey Center on Thursday.
The 13th ranked Indian eves, who finished a disappointing fifth in their own backyard in the 2010 edition, took time to settle down even as the 22nd ranked Canadians looked to wrest the initiative early on. The Indian forwardline grew in confidence as the match wore on as Vandana Katariya, playing in her 100th international match, exuded oodles of energy, and was literally seen all over the pitch. It was her move down the right that set up talented Rani Rampal, whose reverse tap-in breached the Canadian citadel amid a goalmouth melee.
The opening goal came as a huge sigh of relief for the Neil Hawgood-coach side, which had earlier wasted two penalty corners. The Indian first goal joy was short-lived as Canada levelled things three minutes later, but India profited from their third short corner when Poonam Rani slotted home from close on the stroke of half-time. India led 2-1 at the break.
India’s penalty corner expert Jaspreet Kaur then made a statement in the second half, firing home a drag-flick off their fourth penalty corner in the second half to give their side a cozy 3-1 lead, which was narrowed down when Canada hit back. It was left to Jaspreet to nail in her second PC goal from the team’s fifth penalty corner as India scripted a 4-2 win – it was India’s second win on the trot against Canada in Commonwealth Games, having beaten them 1-0 in the 2002 Manchester edition.
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