FIH Pro League 2023-24: Indian women’s team stuns Australia 1-0, Vandana scores winning goal

Indian women’s hockey team stunned Australia 1-0 to register its second win of the FIH Pro League 2023-24 campaign in Rourkela on Saturday.

Published : Feb 17, 2024 21:13 IST , ROURKELA - 2 MINS READ

FILE PHOTO: India’s Vandana Katariya.
FILE PHOTO: India’s Vandana Katariya. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

FILE PHOTO: India’s Vandana Katariya. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Indian women registered only their 2nd win the FIH Pro League this season on Saturday but the 1-0 win against formidable Australia here was more than just avenging the loss in the first leg in Bhubaneswar.

This was India’s first win against the Hockeyroos since the famous victory at the Tokyo Olympics. More incredibly, this was India’s first win against them, at home, in 28 years -- India last beat Australia, in India, in women’s hockey during the 1996 Indira Gandhi Gold Cup, with current coach Katrina Powell a playing member.

Not surprisingly, the goal came off the stick of veteran Vandana Katariya in the 34th minute, the 31-year old reminding everyone yet again why she was so badly missed at the Olympic Qualifiers.

Australia started the usual attacking way but a failed PC in the 3rd minute and Jane Claxton’s shot at the post helped India stay in the game with the game remaining goalless at half time.

A 2nd PC for India four minutes into the 3rd Quarter found Vandana timed her dive and position perfecto deflect the ball in and break the deadlock. The intensity of Indian attacks, led by Navneet’s blazing runs upfront, was matched by a tight defence that saw the Australians getting frustrated, erratic and desperate searching for the equaliser.

That 1996 win, under late MK Kaushik, ended an incredible 41-match winning streak for the Australians coached then by Ric Charlesworth. The Tokyo win spurred the Indian women’s team to new heights. Janneke Schopman would be hoping Saturday’s win triggers a similar turnaround for her girls.

Earlier, China managed a 2-0 win against USA.

China 2 (Zixia Ou 7, Jiaqi Zhong 19) bt USA 0; India 1 (Vandana Katariya 34) bt Australia 0.
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