Tokyo, Aug 17 : The Indian women’s hockey team on Saturday started their campaign at the Olympic Test Event with a resilient 2-1 victory over hosts Japan here at the Oi Hockey Stadium.
India took an early lead through the penalty corner specialist, Gurjit Kaur, in the 9th minute, but the hosts equalised in the 16th minute as Aki Mitsuhashi scored a field goal. However, Gurjit Kaur stepped up again in the 35th minute to convert yet another penalty corner which turned out to be the decisive goal in the match.
Both the teams played with 16 players in accordance to the Olympic Games guidelines and made swift and timely substitutions throughout the match. With majority of the attacks coming from the Indian team, the Japanese sat back and looked to attack on the counter at most of the times during the game.
The teams have played each other frequently in the past couple of years, which showed on the field as they understood each other’s tactics, and as a result the teams went into the half-time break level at 1-1.
The third quarter saw India dominate in the initial few minutes, and winning themselves another Penalty Corner in the 35th minute. A moment of magic from Gurjit Kaur saw India regain their one-goal advantage as the 23-year-old smashed the ball into the back of the net.
The hosts tried to look for another equaliser in the remaining minutes, but could not convert their opportunities into goals. The World No 14 team could not get the equalising goal, while India defended resiliently in the closing stages to see out the victory.
Indian women’s hockey team will now face World No 2 Australia on Sunday at 1800 hrs.
It will be a tough outing for the Indian Eves as they have only registered one victory in their last 10 meetings with the Australians, however a new-found confidence within the team will make for an interesting match on Sunday here at the Oi Hockey Stadium.