Women’s hockey: India stuns Ireland in friendly

The Indian women’s hockey team ends its tour of Spain on a high, with a 3-0 win over Ireland.

Clinical display: The Indian team celebrates its win on Sunday.   -  PTI

The Indian women’s hockey team defeated Ireland 3-0 in its second and final friendly to end its tour of Spain on a high.

The Irish defenders were stretched right from the start as India’s forward-line kept making forays into the striking circle. Navjot Kaur found the first breakthrough for India; she scored a splendid field goal in the 13th minute to help India take a 1-0 lead.

An Indian infringement in the second quarter saw Ireland being awarded a penalty corner, but it was safely negotiated by India’s defence.

In the 26th minute, a timely assist by the experienced Deep Grace Ekka helped Reena Khokar double India’s lead, ahead of the 10-minute half-time break. India continued to keep up a discipline structure but in the melee, gave away a penalty corner to Ireland only minutes into the third quarter. India defended well to keep the Irish at bay.

In the final quarter, India set up a powerful attack. It fetched the team a penalty corner, which was well-converted by Gurjit Kaur, the highest goal-scorer for India in this Tour.

‘Proud’ coach

Sjoerd Marijne, the head coach, was elated with the team’s win. He said, “I am proud of the team because playing six matches in nine days can be very difficult and the last two matches we have played without our skipper Rani who has a shoulder strain.”

“Today, we were particularly good, as we controlled the whole match and had [the Irish] in our circle only six times. We have played [in a]good structure, with good disciplined hockey. One of the things we have improved in this tour is personal leadership and taking responsibility. I am not only seeing the score; it’s good to win 3-0 but I am happy with individual performances,” he declared.

In the first friendly, India had drawn 1-1 with Ireland. Earlier, India had levelled the four-match series against Spain.