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Women's hockey team in medal race
December 08, 2006 15:58 IST
Surinder Kaur struck a purple patch to blast four goals as India whipped lowly Hong Kong 7-0 to keep their hopes alive for a podium finish in the women's hockey competition at the Asian Games in Doha on Thursday.
Apart from Surinder's four goals (21st, 35th, 54th and 68th minutes), skipper Sunita Kullu chipped in with two (27th and 54th) and Jasjeet Kaur contributed one (50th).
The Indians, who led 3-0 at half-time should have finished with a bigger margin but once again the forwards failed to capitalise on the chances that came their way.
This was India's third win in four matches and they still have two tough ties ahead -- against Japan and Korea. If they manage to beat any one of them, they are sure to make it to the final. But for that they will have to sharpen and fine-tune their attack and finish.
Against Hong Kong, India got 11 penalty-corners but could convert only three and that too through indirect attempts. They made a whopping 44 attempts at the rival goal but lack of finish proved their undoing.
India started without skipper Jyoti Kullu, who is not fully fit after suffering a head on collision in an earlier match, but she was forced to play midway through the first half as the other forwards were making mess of things.
Despite the overwhelming domination, it took the Indians 21 long minutes to break the deadlock and score the first goal, when Surinder Kaur converted a penalty-stroke (1-0).
Six minutes later the Indian skipper made her presence felt when she scored off a penalty-corner (2-0). And just on the stroke of half-time Surinder struck again, off another penalty-corner(3-0).
The Indian domination continued in the second session and ball was mostly in Hong Kong's 25-yard area, but goalkeeper Lee Mei Chai and defender Barbara Helen Mountain frustrated the Indians with some superb defending.
The Hong Kong attack was too feeble and hardly made any move towards the rival defence. Indian goalkeeper Dipika Murthy virtually had an off day in office as she was not tested even once.
Three quick goals in seven minutes saw India take a 6-0 lead, with Jyoti Kullu and Jasjeet scoring field goals in 47th and 50th minutes and Surinder Kaur striking off a penalty-corner in the 54th.
After putting India in a commanding position, Jyoti left the field and two minutes before the full-time, Surinder Kaur struck again, this time scoring a beautiful goal (7-0) to complete the tally.
Despite the big victory margin the Indian performance left lot to be desired and coach M K Kaushik was fully aware of it.
''We will have to improve upon our finishing and not miss as many chances," he said.
The coach admitted that penalty-corner conversion remains a problem.
''We need to convert more and against Japan and Korea we just can't afford to miss.
''Three wins out of four is very good going but we have tough task ahead,'' Kaushik said.
''The girls will have to give their best in the next two matches because they know we are very close to our target. I have told them that they have in them the quality and capability to emerge winners; it is just a question of being focused, not lose chances and keep nerves," he added.
Doha Asian Games 2006: The Complete Coverage