Sports News, Nation, (Hiroshima), June 24:-An impressive Indian women’s hockey team on Sunday won the FIH Women’s Series Finals Hiroshima 2019 after defeating hosts Japan 3-1 in the Final held at the Hiroshima Hockey Stadium.
The Indian team was helped by an early goal from captain Rani in the 3rd minute, but conceded an equalizer in the 11th minute as Japan’s Kanon Mori scored. A brace from Gurjit Kaur scored in the 45th and 60th minutes, however, saw India register an emphatic victory. The world number 9 Indian team had already qualified for the FIH Olympic Qualifiers 2019 on Saturday after securing a place in the final of the competition.
Japan, on the other hand, also started to get into their rhythm, and tried to create chances by using the flanks, but India’s defensive cohesion made sure that they did not succeed.
India controlled ball possession well as they made five circle entries compared to Japan’s zero. The likes of Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam and Lilima Minz stepped up to help break Japanese attacks, and rotated the ball comfortably to create opportunities for India.
However, a better performance by the Japanese defence in the final few minutes of the second quarter meant that both the teams went into the half-time break level at 1-1.
India stepped up their attacks again in the opening minutes of the third quarter winning two PCs, but could not convert them into goals. Both the teams tried to look to take the important lead, with Japan making two circle entries and getting two shots away, while India made eight entries and took five shots.
However, the last of those five shots was the one which gave India the lead as constant pressure on the Japanese in the latter stages of the third quarter saw India win another PC through Rani.
With just five minutes remaining in the match, Japan decided to take off their goalkeeper for an extra outfield player, and that helped them in creating some opportunities. However, it also worked against them in the last minute of the match as Gurjit, the top scorer of the tournament, scored her second goal of the match through a PC to make it 3-1 and wrap up the victory for India.
-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)