London: The Indian women’s hockey team registered an emphatic 3-0 victory over Italy in the cross-over match to progress to the quarter-finals of the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018 here at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Tuesday. The Indian team displayed a good all-round performance and was helped by goals from Lalremsiami (9’), Neha Goyal (45’) and Vandana Katariya (55’).
The match started with Italy seeing possession for the first couple of minutes, but India slowly got into rhythm and kept the ball for the next few minutes. Both the teams looked to play with a slow tempo during the first period but the Asian champions created a glorious opportunity in the 9th minute as Navjot Kaur won the first penalty corner of the match. The resulting flick was taken by Gurjit Kaur and her fierce strike was deflected by the first rusher. India took the long corner quickly, managing to exploit the space in the Italian striking circle, and young striker Lalremsiami benefitted from it as she produced a calm finish from the left side of the goal to give India the lead after nine minutes. India looked fairly comfortable in the remaining few minutes and ended the first quarter with a one goal lead as Italy failed to stitch together passes.
The early stages of the second quarter saw India’s captain, Rani, create an early chance in the 17th minute as she ran by the left baseline, passing the ball inside which was eventually cleared by Italian goalkeeper Martina Chirico. Italy also had to go forward but failed to deliver inside the striking circle, giving away free hits too often as India took the lead into the half-time break.
India looked to extend the lead in the third quarter and had a great chance in the 34th minute when Navneet Kaur found herself in possession with her back towards the goal. The Indian attackers looked to put the ball into the back of the net and it was Neha Goyal who got the final touch to extend India’s advantage.
Italy had a chance to make a comeback into the match in the 48th minute as they were awarded their first PC of the match, but Agata Wybieralska’s shot was well saved by Savita. Italy tried to create chances but India’s resolute defence made sure that the World No. 17 team did not have a way back into the match. India scored its third goal at the second instance as Gurjit Kaur’s fierce low flick towards the right side of the goalkeeper was cleverly deflected the other way by Vandana Katariya to make the score 3-0 in India’s favour.
The Indian Women’s Hockey team will play Ireland in their quarter-final match on Thursday, August 2, 2018 at 20.15hrs local time (00.45hrs IST on August 3, 2018).
(Inputs from Hockey India)