Women’s hockey Olympic qualifier: India beat Poland 3-0

February 21st, 2012 - 9:57 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) The Indian women hockey team’s unbeaten run in the 2012 London Olympics qualifiers continued with a 3-0 win over Poland in their third match of the tournament at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here Tuesday.

India were unimpressive in the first-half but raised their game after the break with two goals for a comfortable victory against the World No.28.

India took the lead in the 14th minute through Ritu Rani and doubled the lead in the 36th minute through Rani Rampaul while Poonam Rani completed the scoreline in the 62nd minute.

With the win, the 13th ranked India are on top of the table with seven points. India and tournament favourites South Africa (World No.12) have seven points each but the hosts are ahead on the basis of a better goal difference.

Coming off from a rest-day, the Indian half-line completely dominated the game with Deepika Thakur and Rani Rampaul orchestrating most of the moves.

As promised by coach C.R. Kumar, the girls were aggressive right from the start with Deepika breaking past the Polish defence in the fifth minute but her shot missed the goal by a whisker.

India pressed hard from both the flanks and finally opened the scoring when skipper Asanta Lakra from the centre gave a through pass to Poonam, who set-up Ritu brilliantly with only the goalkeeper to beat, leaving the Polish defenders stunned.

In the next 21 minutes, Indian displayed great athleticism to prise apart the Polish defence but lacked good finishing, something that was visible in their 1-1 draw with Ukraine and 4-1 win over Canada.

India, however, didn’t have to wait too long post the break as they doubled the lead in the 36th minute after some stunning stick-work by Rani, who dribbled past three defenders in the D before slotting it past the Polish goalkeeper.

India netted the third with eight minutes left for the hooter as Poonam slotted in a pass from Deepika from left, giving no chance to the goalkeeper to move.

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