Hoping to make it back into the Pro League, the Indian women’s hockey team made a winning start in their campaign to win the FIH Women’s Nations Cup 2022 by registering a dominant 3-1 win against Chile here on a cold Sunday afternoon.
Sangita Kumari (3′), Sonika (11′) and Navneet Kaur (32′) scored the goals for India while Fernanda Villagran (44′) scored Chile’s lone goal. India is hoping to win the title as the winner will be promoted to the next season of the FIH Pro League.
The ace goalkeeper Savita-led Indian women’s hockey team got off the blocks to a fine start in the first quarter, making their intent on their opponents very clear. They played with good structure and rotated the ball with precision to find gaps in the Chilean circle early in the game.
Their efforts paid off, with in-form Sangita Kumari finding the net in the 3rd minute of the game. It was experienced forward Vandana Katariya, who set up the goal with a brilliant tackle into the right flank and pushed the ball to Sangita, who made no mistake in putting it past the Chilean goalie.
Her goal gave India the edge over Chile as they went on to build on this momentum in the following minutes of the match. They played with good speed in their attack, putting Chile’s defence under the pump.
India extended their lead to 2-0 in the 11th minute when Sangita set up Sonika with a fine assist to convert the goal. Sonika, who was positioned on the left flank, found a perfect deflection, giving India a solid lead. Sonika was awarded player of the match for her impressive effort in Sunday’s match, according to a report in the Hockey India website.
After a goalless second quarter, India started the third quarter on an attacking note. This time, it was Neha Goyal, who created the scoring opportunity when she picked up an aerial pass and assisted Navneet to score India’s third goal. This 32nd-minute goal gave India a good cushion in the second half of the match.
India’s defence in the meantime held sway without conceding any goals. Chile, however, did manage to slip one in, in the 44th minute through penalty corner via Fernanda Villagran. The final quarter saw India make some amends for the defensive error that led to a PC goal.
They created some fine scoring opportunities in the D, with some skillful play by Vandana, Sangita and Navneet. But Chile’s goalie Natalia Salvador did a fine job to keep Indian attackers from scoring, thus ending the match with a 3-1 scoreline.