FIH Hockey Junior World Cup: Determined Indian Junior Women’s Team beat Wales 5-1 in opener
Potchefstroom (South Africa): The Indian Junior Women’s Hockey team made a winning start to their campaign at the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup here on Saturday as they beat Wales 5-1 in their first pool D match. Goals were scored by Lalremsiami (4′), Lalrindiki (32′, 57′), Mumtaz Khan (41′), and Deepika (58′) while Millie Holme (26′) was the lone goal scorer for Wales.
The Indian team led by Salima Tete got off the blocks with swift attack in the first quarter, creating a penalty corner within a few seconds of the start of the match. But the Wales goalkeeper Ffion Horrell was quick to respond with a good save. However, the Indian players were determined to make a strong start and scored in the fourth minute through Lalremsiami’s deflection that beat the Wales goalie. While Wales too won a PC in the first quarter, Indian goalkeeper Bichu Devi was brilliant at the post to make valuable saves.
India continued to remain resolute in their pursuit as they built on their performance in the second quarter, but the Indian forwards, who created potential goal scoring opportunities, could not quite put the ball past Wales’ defence led by Horrell who was astute at the goal post. Though Wales put one past India in the 26th minute through Millie Holme, India made amends to their slow second quarter by bouncing back stronger in the third and the fourth quarters.
While Wales began the third quarter by earning a PC, Indian goalie Bichu Devi ensured they did not score from this opportunity. Only two minutes later, India pumped a goal into Wales post when Lalrindiki got a perfect deflection off Salima Tete’s assist. Later, Mumtaz Khan took India’s scoreline to 3-1 when she converted a brilliant field goal in the 41st minute.
Meanwhile, Lalrindiki, a quick-thinking forward, was again at the centre of all the action when she fetched India another PC with just three minutes left for the third quarter to end. But the chance could not be converted with Horrell coming up with yet another fine save. Though India made another PC in the dying minutes of the third quarter, Salima’s shot on goal went wide.
In the final quarter, India put up an improvised attack that saw them convert the chances with aplomb. Even though their first opportunity came in the 52nd minute when they won another PC, Horrell yet again blocked away the shot. But with just a little less than four minutes left for the final hooter, Deepika helped win another PC. Even though Horrell saved the shot, Ajmina Kujur took another shot from the rebound, which was saved again by Horrell. Lalrindiki was quick to respond as she picked up the rebound and found the gap in India’s third attempt. This helped extend India’s lead to 4-1 while another PC in the 48th minute which was converted by Deepika, helped fetch India their first win with a formidable 5-1 scoreline.
Following the big win, Captain Salima Tete expressed, “I am very proud of the way we played today. We got off to a good start but gave away chances in the second quarter. I am particularly happy about how we came back into the game in the third and fourth quarter, finishing it off really well. We play Germany tomorrow, a strong team but today’s win will give the team good confidence.”
On Sunday, 3rd April 2022, Indian Junior Women’s Team will take on Germany at 1430 hrs IST.
Matches will be live streamed on watch.hockey as well as FanCode app