On Sunday, a distinct Hockey India Women squad showcased their prowess at the Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh Munda Astro Turf by triumphing over New Zealand with a score of 3-1 in the Pool B clash of the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2024. Faced with a must-win scenario after their initial defeat to the USA, India commenced the game impressively, securing an early goal within the first minute.
Sangita Kumari, a local player, initiated the scoring by capitalizing on Neha’s assist to set up Salima Tete in the circle. Despite both teams earning penalty corners in the ensuing minutes, it was New Zealand that capitalized, with Megan Hull finding the mark in the 9th minute. Shortly thereafter, Lalremsiami’s efforts in the circle led to India earning a penalty corner, and Udita, celebrating her birthday, successfully converted it with a powerful slap shot. India maintained their dominant performance in the first quarter, furthering their lead to 3-1 in the 14th minute when Salima and Beauty Dung Dung, both hailing from Jharkhand, collaborated to secure the third goal for the home team.
India outshines New Zealand
𝔸 𝕗𝕒𝕞𝕠𝕦𝕤 𝕨𝕚𝕟 𝕗𝕠𝕣 𝕋𝕖𝕒𝕞 𝕀𝕟𝕕𝕚𝕒!
With their backs against the wall, this was a must win game for them and our Girls showed us what are they made of!
A scintillating Q1 literally killed off the game for New Zealand.
3️⃣ Goals from Sangita, Udita and Beauty… pic.twitter.com/RmeuQ2OGHf
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) January 14, 2024
India secured a commanding 3-1 lead, establishing a comfortable position as the second quarter unfolded. While no goals were scored in this period, Beauty, Salima, and Deepika showcased impressive performances that captivated the audience. In the latter half, Indian Captain Savita delivered a remarkable save, preventing New Zealand from scoring during a penalty corner. Nisha also earned commendation for her diligent blocking efforts. Despite a couple of missed opportunities for India, the defenders remained steadfast, maintaining the 3-1 lead. They skillfully intercepted New Zealand’s long balls, effectively managing the backline throughout the match.
Despite New Zealand’s efforts to stage a comeback in the closing moments of the game, India maintained their composure and secured three points from this match. The Indian team is set to face Italy on January 16th, and a victory in that match would be sufficient for them to advance to the knockout stage.