West Vancouver [Canada]: The Indian eves marched into the final of Women’s Hockey World League Round 2 in Canada here on a rainy Saturday with an impressive 4-0 win against Belarus.
With this victory India also sealed a berth in the Women’s Hockey World League Semi Final to be held in June/ July. The event is also a qualifier for the FIH Women’s World Cup 2018.
India were dominant right from the start. Even though Belarus won two early penalty corners in the 4th and the 9th minutes, the Indian team’s defence was impressive as they denied an early lead.
India were quick to earn their first PC in the 13th minute and it was Gurjit Kaur whose stunning goal gave India a 1-0 lead in the first quarter.
Skipper Rani helped in taking India’s lead to a comfortable 2-0 at half time when she successfully converted a penalty stroke in the 20th minute.
Both teams traded PCs in the third quarter with India winning a PC in the 33rd minute but the strike was wide. Belarus, on the other hand, won a PC in the 40th minute but Yuliya Mikheichyk’s hard-struck drag flick was saved by India’s goalkeeper Savita.
Indian eves played fast-paced hockey as they rallied back to the striking circle with Rani making a solo attempt at the goal and she succeeded with a brilliant field goal that took India’s lead to a strong 3-0 in the 40th minute.
Though Belarus were awarded a PC in the 42nd minute, their attempt to score was denied yet again by Savita, who continued to be impressive at the post to ensure India stayed on course to victory.
The final quarter saw Belarus make desperate attempts to come back into the game. They began the quarter with a PC awarded to them in the 49th minute but was promptly denied by Savita.
The Indian defence was inch-perfect giving Belarus fewer opportunities to enter their striking circle. It was Gurjit Kaur’s splendid penalty stroke goal in the 58th minute that took India’s score to 4-0 and sealed the match.
“We are very excited and happy about the win. We played as a strong unit with better defence and I am happy we did not miss penalty corner chances. Our aim was to enter the Final and we look forward to a good game against Chile,” stated Rani.
Meanwhile, Chile defeated Uruguay 2-1 in the second semi-final to make it to the final to be played on Sunday. (ANI)