~Vandana Katariya, Deepika, and Salima Tete scored for India~
Bhubaneswar, 9th February 2024: The Indian Women’s Hockey Team ended the Bhubaneswar leg of the Hockey Pro League 2023/24 with a 3-1 victory against the United States at Kalinga Hockey Stadium, Bhubaneswar on Friday. Vandana Katariya(9’), Deepika (26’), and Samila Tete (56’) scored for India. Meanwhile, Sanne Caarls (42’) scored the only goal for the United States.
India started the game with an opportunity to score through a penalty corner but Deepika’s dragflick sailed wide of the post. United States quickly answered back with a chance of their own as Elizabeth Yeager shot from a tight angle, however, India’s Captain Savita diffused the situation with a save. Halfway through the first quarter, Sangita Kumari ventured down the right wing and attempted to find Sonika in the shooting circle but the ball bounced off United States’ goalkeeper Kealsie Robles and fell kindly to Vandana Katariya, who tapped the ball in goal to score the first goal of the game for India.
United States started the second quarter on the frontfoot with Elizabeth Yeager swiveling on top of the shooting circle and attempting a reverse shot but it was straight into the side netting. Soon after, Salima Tete initiated a blazing run on the right wing but she couldn’t find Lalremsiami in the circle and the move fizzled out. India employed a high press for the rest of the quarter and with four minutes left in the quarter, Monika threaded a pass to Vandana who shifted the ball to Deepika on the right wing and her reverse swing, from a tight angle, capped off the intricate passing sequence with a goal. The United States went on to earn a penalty corner with a minute left before the halftime whistle but Savita battered the shot away to safety and the first half ended 2-0 in India’s favour.
India took the initiative in the third quarter as Sharmila Devi attempted a drive down the left wing but she couldn’t find a teammate in the circle and the chance went begging. India continued to peg United States back in their own half and it wasn’t long before they earned a penalty corner, however, Navneet Kaur shot just wide of the post. As the quarter progressed both teams earned a penalty corner each but neither team managed to capitalise. With three minutes left in the quarter, Sanne Caarls picked up a loose ball outside the shooting circle and unleashed a tomahawk shot to beat Savita in goal and present the United States with a foothold in the game.
Both teams probed the other’s defence in an attempt to score the next goal in the last quarter. India earned a penalty corner with seven minutes left in the game but the shot sailed wide again. As the game drew to a close, Deepika went on a scintillating run across the left wing, blazing past several defenders, and crossed to Salima Tete who deflected the ball into goal and restored India’s two-goal lead. United States endured in their attempt to score another goal in the dying moments but India remained alert and the match ended 3-1 in India’s favour.
The Indian Women’s Hockey Team will take on China next at 1930 hrs on 12th February.
All matches of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24 will be streamed on JioCinema, additionally, all India matches will be telecast on Sports18 – Khel.
By Hockey India