New Delhi: Indian women’s hockey team lifted the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 defeating Poland 3-1 in a high-intensity final at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Sunday.
The final also marked the completion of 200 international caps for skipper Ritu Rani, who scored in the 59th minute, and 100 caps for goalkeeper Savita. Deepika was declared the player of the match while Polish skipper Marlena Rybacha was declared the player of the tournament.
“I hope after watching us win on the home turf more girls will get attracted to the sport. It was a tough match. Any team can win an easy match,” Ritu said. On her 200th appearance, she said: “For a moment I thought of the journey I have completed since my first cap in 2006. It was an emotional moment.”
The Indian women, in the fourth minute, had their first opportunity to take the lead through a penalty corner but the Poland defence stood firm. Indians had another penalty corner in the ninth minute but Poland was not going to let the hosts have it easy.
Poland’s marking and India’s fast-paced attack saw an action filled match that was heading towards a goalless first half when Vandana Katariya took a reverse shot from the left in the 15th minute to put the home team 1-0 ahead in the match. The Polish girls showed a lot of fight and equalized in opening minute (17th minute) of the second quarter through a penalty corner which was executed with planned variations. Oriana Walasek finished a well-orchestrated move.
Giving the spectators enough to cheer for, the Indians launched fast counters. Vandana Katariya, who finished as the top scorer of the tournament with 11 goals, got injured after colliding with the Polish goalkeeper.
Both teams looked for opportunity through the third quarter with India conceding two back-to-back penalty corners. But the hosts soon launched a counter-attack and Rani, playing her first tournament since the Asian Games after recovering from a dislocated shoulder, netted the ball from an acute angle in the 44th minute to make it a 2-1 lead.
The hosts kept up their attack and Ritu Rani deflected a pass from Poonam Rani in the 59th minute to seal the issue with a 3-1 scoreline.
In earlier matches, Malaysia beat Thailand 3-0 to take the third spot while Russia stunned Kazakhstan 9-0 for fifth place. For seventh position, Ghana overcame Singapore 2-1.
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