Rotterdam, June 18
Gurjit Kaur scored a brace as the Indian women’s hockey team dished out a spirited performance to stun the Olympics silver medallists Argentina 2-1 in the shootout after a 3-3 draw in regulation time in the first match of their double-leg FIH Pro League tie here today.
Kaur two penalty corner conversions, in the 37th and 61st minutes, Lalremsiami’s (4th) field strike cancelled out Agustina Gorzelany’s (22nd, 37th, 45th) hat-trick to take the match into the shootout.
In the shootout, Neha Goyal and Sonika scored for India, while Victoria Granatto was the lone scorer for the reigning Pro League champions as the Savita Punia-led side registered a famous win and also avenged their 1-2 defeat in the Tokyo Olympics semifinals.
India put pressure on the Argentina defence early on and secured a penalty corner in the third minute but Monika’s flick was saved by the opposition goalkeeper Belen Succi.
A minute later, India surged ahead through a brilliant field goal by Lalremsiami. Stunned by the goal, the Argentines came out attacking and secured two penalty corners in quick succession but the Indian defence stood firm in the first quarter.
The Indians started brightly in the second quarter as well but Argentina gradually got their act together.
Six minutes into the second quarter, Argentina’s Gorzelany equalised after her deflected flick went in.
The teams went into the interval locked 1-1. After some exhilarating hockey at start of the second half, Argentina surged ahead when Gorzelany scored from a penalty stroke in the 37th minute.
However, India drew parity seconds later through a perfect penalty corner conversion by Kaur. Argentina secured their eighth penalty corner in the 45th minute and Gorzelany gave her side the lead again. The Indians, however, did not give up. Kaur again came to her side’s rescue with a brilliant penalty corner execution in the 51st minute to level the scores at 3-3.
Men closer to exit door
The men’s team produced a lionhearted performance before going down 1-4 to the Netherlands in the shoot-out after both the sides were locked 2-2 at regulation time.
India are still placed third with 30 points from 15 games with just one match remaining. They are virtually out of the title race. The Netherlands are leading the table with 33 points from 13 games with three matches in hand, while the Olympics champions Belgium are placed second with 31 points from 14 games with two matches remaining.