Rani leads India to a 1-0 victory over Great Britain in Auckland

No stopping of India’s Luciana Aymar, Rani Rampal. The forward, who is the talk of the town in the global hockey community, struck peach of a goal to get India a coveted victory over Great Britain at Auckland, New Zealand on Tuesday. The solitary goal helped India to post a memorable victory which is also a repeat its show against the same rival in the last Commonwealth Games.

Fresh from getting the coveted World Games’ Athlete of the year, Rani hogged limelight again when she posted a goal in the 47 minute against the reigning Olympic Champions Great Britian which turned out to the lone goal of the interesting contest at Auckland.

Her lone goals are fast becoming folklore of sort. The one she managed to score against the USA at Bhubaneswar in the double-header Olympic Qualifying test, when the team was trailing 0-4, got the Tokyo ticket for India.

On the same lines, she did the sole act at Auckland also.

It was visiting India’s fourth match in New Zealand. Having won their first match in the New Zealand Tour 4-0 against the hosts Development Squad, Indian Women’s Team had lost the following two matches 2-1 and 1-0 respectively to the New Zealand National Team.

However, on Tuesday, the Indian Women’s Team led by Rani played with full gusto as they began the match with strong attack. The efforts paid off early as the team earned a PC but could not convert. But the team continued to play with a structured defence and tight passing, which ensured little room for Great Britain to counter attack or create chances to score. “We created enough chances and now we need to keep working on converting those chances but our defence stood strong through the match which was a good thing,” expressed Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne after the match.

Ending the first half in a 0-0 stalemate, India made another PC attempt in the third quarter but could not make the opportunity count. The team however kept up a good line of defence and continued to carry on aggressive attack. It was not until the 47th minute when Skipper Rani created space in the circle, netting a powerful shot past Great Britain’s goalkeeper.

The 1-0 lead put serious pressure on Great Britain who eventually could not recover, thus conceding the loss. “Towards the end of the match, we were under pressure but the team handled it well and even ensured a goal. The win is good for a morale boost but for me it’s all about the performance and I see we can grow and become more dominant and calmer on the ball,” he stated further adding that it’s important for the team to recover fast in order to continue winning momentum against New Zealand in tomorrow’s match. “We now need to ensure fast recover in order to be ready for tomorrow’s match,” Marijne stated

On 5 February 2020, India will take on Great Britain at 0830 hours IST.


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