Vandana sparkles in India win

Vandana sparkles in India win

After a breezy opening game, Indian women found themselves severely tested against Malaysia before eking out a 3-0 victory in the second match of the World Hockey League Round 2 match at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here on Tuesday night.

Malaysia, ranked 10 slots below India at 22, fought till the end but could not convert their chances. India, though scratchy and below par, coasted home with a brace from Vandana Katariya (9th minute, 38th) and Rani Rampal (65th).

Malaysia were quick to put India on defensive, earning a penalty corner in the second minute of the match. During the early part of the match, India struggled to break through the Malaysian midfield and the crowded defence. While they did create some good moves, their finishing left a lot to be desired before earning a penalty corner in the ninth minute when Rani Rampal was brought down inside the circle.

Jaspreet Kaur, who slammed in four goals in the opening match, took the strike but her shot was neatly deflected by Vandana near the goalmouth to draw appreciation from a handful of enthusiastic spectators. A confident India then began to play more freely but tight Malaysian marking made their movement difficult, especially inside the circle.

The visitors wasted a golden opportunity for an equaliser in the 25th minute when Azlin Nor Sumantri ran down the centre with no Indian defender in sight. However, she mishit and India entered the second half leading 1-0.

India added a second to the scoreline minutes into the second half.  Rani sent the ball from the right to Anupa, whose cross went straight to a sprinting Vandana in the middle.  She scooped the ball, laying finishing touches to a fine move.

On a roll now, India soon scored their third goal when Rani’s gentle strike went past the Malaysian goalkeeper.  Indian coach Neil Hawgood, however, was disappointed by his team’s performance.

Indian women will take on Fiji next on Thursday. Results: India: 3 (Vandana Katariya 9th minute, 38th, Rani Rampal 65th) bt Malysia 0; Russia: 9 (Alina Krasnoperova 9th, 39th, 47th, Yana Doronina 20th, 57th, Ekaterina Shaburova 26th, 28th, Ksenia Svezhentseva 65th, Margarita Drepenkina 68th) bt Fiji: 0; Japan: 11 (Mazuki Arai 5th, 29th, 37th, Shiho Sakai 10th, Miyuki Nakagawa 13th, Yuri Nagai 16th, Kumi Banda 34th, Ayaka Nishimura 42nd, Akiko Ota 46th, Rika Komazawa 59th, OG) bt Kazakhstan: 0.

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