Indian eves eke out hard-fought draw

Indian eves eke out hard-fought draw

 A lacklustre Indian women’s hockey team eked out a 1-1 draw against Belgium to avoid a second consecutive defeat in the women’s competition of the FIH World League Round 3 on Friday.

Anupa Barla saved the day for India with the equaliser in the 38th minute after Erica Coppey gave Belgium the lead in the fourth minute.

It was expected to be a close encounter between India and Belgium, two teams ranked 12th and 13th in the world, but it was not, at least in the opening half. The lower-ranked Belgian girls were by far the better side and completely dominated India in the opening 35 minutes.

The Indians looked disorgainsed and played catch-up hockey for most part of the opening period as Belgium mounted attack after attack on the opposition citadel.

It did not take Belgium long to take the lead, courtesy some sloppy defense by the Indian eves. The Belgians surged ahead in the fifth minute when Coppey neatly deflected home a cross from the left flank.

Trailing 0-1, the Indians came out with purpose after the change of ends and looked far more oriented.

Against the run of the mill, the Indians managed to draw parity just three minutes into the second half through Anupa Barla, who deflected in a loose ball from close range.

India will take on Germany in their final Pool ‘B’ match on Sunday while the Belgians will face New Zealand.

Meanwhile, the men’s team, who were held to a draw by Ireland in their previous encounter, will run into a formidable Netherlands in their next Pool ‘B’ match on Saturday.