Putting up a spirited display India held Commonwealth Games champions England to a 1-1 draw in its opening match of the three-nation Women’s Hockey Tournament
in Terrassa, Spain on Wednesday.
Holly Hunt (7’) gave England an early lead but Lalremsiami (41’) converted a penalty corner to earn India a draw in the 100th Anniversary Spanish Hockey Federation International
World No. 8 India made a cautious start to the match but was surprised early on as England, ranked fourth, scored an early goal through Holly Hunt who beat goalkeeper Savita Punia
with a well-placed shot from open play .
Rattled by the early goal, the Indian women launched fierce counter attacks for an equaliser but were denied by a well-drilled English defence.
Strikr Lalremsiami showed great individual skills to create two good opportunities in the second quarter but was foiled on both occasions. England goalie Sabbie Heesh kept out
one while the second went off narrowly wide of goal. The first half ended with England leading 1-0.
The second half started with England putting the rival defence under pressure. England won the first penalty corner of the match minutes after the restart but it was deflected wide
by the onrushing defenders
The third quarter played out with England on the offensive while India dropped deep to defend and looked to use their speed to catch the reigning Commonwealth Games champions
out on the counter.
With about five minutes to go for the third quarter to end, India won back-to-back penalty corners and off the second Udita’s searing drive took a deflection off Lalremsiami
and hit the English net.(1-1)
Minutes later, Navneet Kaur threatened to put India ahead through another penalty corner only to be denied by the English goalkeeper. England won a flurry of penalty corners of
their own to end the quarter but the blockers stood firm.
With the win up for grabs in the final quarter, India looked the hungrier of the two sides and kept Heesh busy in the England goal. England, who beat Spain in their opening game
on Tuesday, came back into the contest towards the end and turned the pressure right back on the Indian backline.
All the attacking play, however, failed to yield a goal as the hockey match ended level at 1-1.
India will play hosts Spain in the next 100th Anniversary Spanish Hockey Federation International Tournament match on Thursday.