Valencia (Spain) : The Indian women’s hockey team continued it’s winning ways at the FIH Women’s Nations Cup 2022 here in Valencia as they beat Asian nemesis Japan 2-1 in their pool B encounter on Monday. India had started their campaign to get promoted to the FIH Pro League next season by defeating Chile 3-1 In their opening match on Sunday.
With two back-to-back wins, India are placed on top of Pool B with six points while in Pool A, hosts Spain lead the points table after two successive wins. India’s goals came from Salima Tete (5′) and Beauty Dungdung (40′) who is playing her debut tournament with the Senior women’s team. For Japan, Rui Takashima (49′) scored the lone goal.
Similar to their opening match heroics, the Indian women’s hockey team got off to an attacking start against Japan, to whom they lost the Asian Games Final in 2018. In control of the ball, Indian attackers created fine variation early on to find scoring opportunities but could not.
They went in the lead when Navjot Kaur set up Salima Tete with a brilliant cross pass. Tete positioned inside the circle showcased excellent footwork and tackling skills to control the ball and put it past the Japanese keeper Eika Nakamura.
The Japanese replied to the 1-0 setback by fetching a well-created PC in the dying seconds of the first quarter, but India’s defence did well to ward off the danger. In the following quarter, India created a couple of scoring opportunities via penalty corners.
But none could be converted. Though India pursued field goals, working out good passes in the Japanese D, they could not extend the lead to 2-0 in the second quarter, Hockey India said in a report on its official website.
The third quarter too began with India earning a PC. But Gurjit Kaur’s drag-flick went above the crossbar. It was not until the 40th minute that India could extend their lead to 2-0. It was debutant Beauty Dungdung who made an impressive tackle from the top of the striking circle, beating the Japanese defender with some fine drilling skills to score the goal.
She maneuvered perfectly, never taking her eyes off the ball, to make a diving effort to push the ball past Japan’s goalie Eika Nakamura who had moved a few steps ahead to stop Beauty from scoring.
While her Indian compatriots rushed towards Beauty to celebrate her first international goal, Beauty was ever-so-calm and looked more relieved to have netted the goal and fetched India a crucial 2-0 lead before going into the last quarter.
Although India conceded a field goal in the 49th minute through Rui Takashima, they did well to defend the 2-1 lead even though Japan ended up earning a PC in the final few minutes.