Women’s hockey world cup: Error-prone India held 1-1 by China

Amstelveen, July 5 (IANS) India were held to a 1-1 draw by China in a match in which both teams were jittery and made too many mistakes in the Pool B encounter and struggled for real threats on goal in the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup 2022 here on Tuesday.
Zheng Jiali put China ahead in the 25th minute after a goalless first quarter. Vandana Katariya equalised for India in the 44th minute with a superb deflection off a penalty corner. India survived some anxious moments despite having an extra player on the field in the last five minutes as the match ended in a stalemate.
India will now have to win their last Pool B encounter against New Zealand on Thursday and hope China fail to get the better of England in their final encounter.
It was an intense encounter played at a good pace but both teams made many miss-passes, allowed easy turnovers and showed a lack of creativity and direction in the final third as they played out a second successive draw.
Janneke Schopman’s Indian team was held 1-1 by England in their opening match while China played out a 2-2 draw with New Zealand in the first match.
Both teams were desperate for a win and therefore tried too much and too many things, which eventually resulted in both failing to capitalise on many chances.
India, who had defeated China 7-1 and 2-1 in the FIH Pro League matches in Oman in January this year, were the better team on the field, had a better possession and created more chances. They managed to earn five penalty corners to two by China but could convert only one.
Chinese dominated the ball possession in the initial minutes of the game but India soon shook off their nerves and made some circle penetrations but could not take an early lead. One such opportunity came in the 6th minute when Sharmila Devi and Navneet Kaur worked in tandem to take a shot on goal. But Navneet’s strike was blocked by a Chinese defender.
India started the second quarter on a better note and penetrated the Chinese defence on several occasions.
India thought they had taken lead in the 23rd minute when a shot taken by Vandana Katariya bounced into the goal off Jyoti’s body. China got the decision reversed by the video umpire.
India bagged a penalty corner but the chances went Gurjit Kaur’s powerful drag-flick was blocked away by the Chinese goalie Liu Ping.
China took the lead in the 25th minute when off a pass by Zhang Xindan off a superb counterattack, Zheng Jiali got the ball on the top of the shooting circle, moved in and fired a shot past goalkeeper Savita.
India tried some impressive formations in their attack, earning the team another PC in the 27th minute but Monika, who took the shot couldn’t make much of the chance as the teams went into half-time with China leading 1-0.
In the third quarter, China earned their first PC while India bagged two penalty corners, the second of which resulted in India equalising scores in the 44th minute. It was the experienced striker Vandana Katariya, who once again, was the cynosure of India’s PC attack. She picked up a brilliant deflection off Gurjit’s fiercely-struck drag-flick sending the ball flying past the Chinese goalie.
India showed more urgency to convert a goal in the final quarter and they also defended well to keep the pressure on their opponents. They even warded off danger in the 56th minute when they conceded a PC, but they did well with the line defence to clear the ball.

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