New Delhi, 15 March 2015: The final of the Hero FIH Hockey World League Round 2 (Women) lived up to the tag of the Finale game, as the spectators were treated to a spectacular, breathtaking and intense game of hockey between India and Poland. The game tied 1-1 at the end of the first half and was slated as anyone’s game until the last thirty minutes which decided the fate of both the teams. It was the Indian eves who got their experience into play, keeping their nerves intact and beat the opponents 3-1. With the win, India made a clean sweep as they won all six matches played in the tournament.
The determined eves of India attacked from the moment the game started which put immediate pressure on the opponents. Just four minutes into the game, India was awarded with a penalty corner but missed as the ball found the goalkeeper. Two minute later, Rani hit at the D where Anupa Barla was waiting for the touch but the Polish goalkeeper was quick to avert the danger and India lost the opportunity to score. Five minutes left in the quarter, India had another shot at the penalty corner but Poland goalkeeper cleared the danger easily. Seconds left for the first session to end, India finally struck when a beautiful back stroke by Vandana Katariya left no chance for the Poland goalkeeper to react. Within seconds India was again back in the D and Anupa Barla took another shot at the goal but was unfortunate to find the goalkeeper again. This ended the electrifying first quarter with India leading 1-0.
Immediately into the second quarter, Poland struck in the 17th minute as they attacked and got a penalty corner in their name. Poland stunned the Indian defence as a variation helped Oriana Walasek to put the ball into the nets helping them to equalize. The rest of the session was a story of missed chances as each team tried to take the lead in the game. Just seconds left in the game Ritu Rani tried to put the ball past the goalkeeper but was cleared by the latter. A counter attack by Anupa Barla was also unsuccessful in putting the ball into the nets.
With the game tied at 1-1, both the teams tested each others defence, as their attacks continued looking at taking the lead over the other. Four minutes left for the end of the third session, Poland was awarded with a penalty corner where a variation again was adopted by them and Natalia Wisniewska taking a shot at the goal and beat the Indian goalie but unfortunately the ball hit the side post refraining the team to take the lead. It was the Indian eves who kept their nerves and scored the much sorted second goal as a quick and clean pass allowed Rani to take the scorecard to 2-1 in the 44th minute.
Half way into the fourth quarter Poland got another shot at the penalty corner and an opportunity to level the score but danger was averted by the Indian defence. Three minutes left of the Finale match, India had another penalty corner registered in their name. Jaspreet Kaur hit hard but the Poland goalie was again quick to save and clean the ball from the D. Same minute Poland was awarded a penalty corner but were unable to capitalize. India counter attacked immediately and Ritu Rani scored in the 59th minute taking the score to 3-1 and going on to register the teams sixth consecutive win in the tournament.
A happy, High Performance Director, Hockey India, Roelant Oltmans said, “First quarter we played astounding. The way Rani scored her goal was brilliant and not everyday someone scores a goal like that. We had pressure on us in the third quarter but we came back strong. The team has a very good understanding on the field and they did a great job today”
Speaking post the match Ritu Rani, Indian Captain said “We are very happy we won. We played well but we should have played better. From here we will concentrate on Round 3 and we are confident of our performance”.
Top Scorer of the Tournament: Vandana Katariya, India
Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Marta Kucharska, Poland
Junior Player of Tournament: Rani, India
Player of the Tournament: Marlena Rybacha, Poland