The Indian women’s hockey team went down 3-4 to Ireland in a penalty shootout to sign off 6th in the Hawke’s Bay Cup. Both teams were tied 2-2 after the regulation time. The game started with Ireland attacking strongly and earning a couple of penalty corners early in the quarter, only to be thwarted by the Indian defence.
India earned a penalty corner of their own but failed to convert it and the quarter ended goalless.
Ireland took the lead four minutes into the second quarter through Deirdre Duke. Namita Toppo’s field goal in the 25th minute drew India level.
Playing at a fast pace, both teams created several opportunities in their hunt for the breakthrough. Disaster struck for India though as Rani injured her ankle and had to be attended by the physio, before eventually being helped off the pitch. The teams went into half time locked at 1-1.
Ireland earned several penalty corners in the remaining two quarters, but unlike their last encounter against India, failed to make them count.
India’s defence and goalkeeper Savita held strong and didn’t allow any of their drag flickers to get a clear shot on goal. Despite a few nervous moments from both sides at the end, the game headed into a shootout.
Both teams started off strongly in the shootout, and it took till the third shooter for the first miss as Ireland’s Anna O’Flanagan missed with the scores tied at 2-2.
Poonam Rani missed her subsequent shot though, which meant India squandered a chance to take the lead. India went on to miss another shot later on, and lost a hard fought encounter 4-3 in the shootout.
Speaking after the match Chief Coach Neil Hawgood said,
“We showed an improved performance again today, holding and breaking hard against a team that we had lost to quite badly early in the tournament. Now, we will use these experiences to build towards Rio.”