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Women's Hockey World Cup: India snatch draw against China

July 05, 2022 23:19 IST
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India face New Zealand in a must-win match on Thursday.

IMAGE: Vandana Katariya, right, scored the equaliser for India in the 45th minute against China in the pool B match at the FIH Women's Hockey World Cup 2022 in Amstelveen, the Netherlands, on Tuesday. Photograph: Hockey India

The Indian women's team put up another brave performance against China to hold the Asian giants to a 1-1 draw in their second pool B match at the FIH Women's Hockey World Cup 2022 in Amstelveen, the Netherlands, on Tuesday.

 

Jiali Zheng had given China the lead in the 26th minute before Vandana Katariya levelled scores in the 45th minute.

In their first match on Sunday, India had held England to a 1-1 draw, where it was Vandana who had scored the equaliser.

It was a tense start to the match with the Chinese dominating the ball possession and structured their attack in the initial minutes of the game but once India shook off their nerves, they made some lethal circle penetrations that could have earned them an early lead. One such opportunity came in the sixth minute when Sharmila Devi and Navneet Kaur worked in tandem to take a shot on goal but the latter's strike was blocked by a strong Chinese defence.

After ending the first quarter in a stalemate, India penetrated the Chinese defence on a number of occasions in the second quarter.

In the 23rd minute, a penalty corner awarded to India was contested and the referral went in favour of China. It was a shot taken by Vandana from top of the D which bounced off Jyoti's body into the goal, after she missed getting a deflection thus resulting in the referral going against India.

But only seconds later, India found the foot of Chinese defender winning their first penalty corner of the match. But this chance went amiss too as Gurjit Kaur's powerful dragflick was blocked away by the Chinese goalie Liu Ping.

China, however, did not falter when their attackers created a sublime variation that resulted in a goal. It was JZheng who put the ball past India's experienced goalkeeper Savita in the 26th minute.

Meanwhile, India continued to work some impressive formations in their attack, earning the team another penalty corner in the 27th minute but Monika who took the shot couldn't make much of the chance, thus ending the second quarter with China leading 1-0. Both teams displayed attacking hockey coupled with speed and patience in their efforts.

The third quarter saw China fetching their first penalty corner of the match but couldn't make much of it with Gu Bingfeng's drag going wide.

India, who won a couple of penalty corners in this quarter remained calm in their pursuit for a goal. Their wait finally ended in the 45th minute when the team converted from their fifth penalty corner of the match. It was the experienced striker Vandana, who once again, was the cynosure of India's attack. She picked up a brilliant deflection off Gurjit's fiercely-struck dragflick sending the ball flying past the Chinese goalie.

India showed more urgency to convert a goal in the final quarter and they also defended well to keep the pressure on their opponents. They even warded off danger in the 56th minute when they conceded a penalty corner, but they did well with the line defence to clear the ball.

Both teams contested for the ball in the dying minutes of the game, bringing the viewers to the edge of their seats. But with seconds ticking away, neither could successfully score despite China calling for a video referral asking for a penalty corner on the hooter.

With this match too ending in a stalemate, India face a must-win last round robin league match against New Zealand on Thursday.

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