Terassa (Spain): Skipper Savita shone in front of goal as India defeated Canada 3-2 in the shootout after both teams tied 1-1 in their standings at the end of regular time. FIH Women’s Hockey World Cup here on Tuesday.
Madeline Secco (11th) gave Canada the lead before Salima Tete (58th) left late to equalize for India. But it was Savita’s heroics in front of goal that gave India their first win of the tournament.
The Indian captain led from the front and made a whopping six saves in the shootout, while Navneet Kaur, Sonika and Neha converted their chances in ninth to sixteenth in the game.
After their disappointing loss to Spain, India started the match offensively.
After absorbing initial pressure from the Indians, Canada managed to get the ball into the India net, but it was disallowed as the referee awarded a penalty corner and Natalie Sourisseau’s attempt went wide.
Canada went even better a few minutes later when they won another penalty corner. This time, the variation caused confusion in India’s defenses and Kathleen Leahy passed it on to Secco for the final touches to stun the Indians.
India came out stronger again in the second quarter, penetrating the Canadian defense several times.
Monika, in particular, used her arsenal of 3D skills to get past the Canadian defense, while goalkeeper Rowan Harris urged her team to focus.
As the game headed towards halftime, India upped the ante.
Navneet Kaur, Neha and Vandana Katariya moved with freedom because Canada looked very on the back foot.
In the 25th minute, Navneet and Vandana created a good chance together, but the shot was blocked by Canadian goalkeeper Harris as India conceded a goal at half time.
After the change of ends, India continued to put the pressure on, with Lalremsiami making some quick forays into the Canadian circle.
But Canada held out, with Sara McManus and Hannah Haughn putting in great performances in the back line to break off the attacks in India.
India had a great chance to tie the score in the third quarter, but Navjot Kaur’s shot from inside the circle went over the bar.
Minutes later, Savita was called up for action when she made a brilliant save from a penalty corner to refuse a second goal for the Canadians.
As has been the case in the tournament so far, India cut another sad figure with penalty corners. They earned back-to-back penalty corners in the closing minutes of the third quarter, but failed to capitalize on the opportunities.
In the last minute of the third quarter, a dive by Lalremsiami on Salima Tete’s cross from the right wing missed the target by a whisker.
Aside from the early goal, Canada didn’t have much to show for in the game as the Indians completely dominated the process, building attack after attack.
The Canadian defense had to struggle as India continued their relentless attacks in the fourth and final quarter in search of an equaliser.
The Indians created plenty of chances in the form of penalty corners, but Gurjit Kaur was unable to convert a series of set pieces. The shots had the usual power, but they either flew wide or were chased by Canada’s number one Sourisseau.
India’s persistence was finally rewarded when Salima Tete hit a rebound after Gurjit’s tap from a penalty corner was saved by the Canadian keeper.
Karli Johansen had another chance to regain the lead for Canada, but her shot into a penalty corner went wide and the game ended in a shoot-out.
India will face Japan in the play-off match for ninth to twelfth place on Wednesday.
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