New Delhi, 10 March 2015: The turf of Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi witnessed an intense clash when women from Russia locked horns with eves from Kazakhstan in match two of day three of the Hero FIH Hockey World League Round 2 (Women). In a nail biting game, Kazakhstan downed Russia 3-2 to register a win.
The first quarter opened with Russian women giving a tough time to the opponents as they tried to build pressure on the Kazakhstan eves. However Kazakhstan was soon awarded a penalty corner and Viktoriya Shaimardanova took the strike. Despite a solid attempt, she could not fruitfully convert the penalty corner into a goal. The first quarter saw a dry run and ended goal-less.
Both the teams put in the best efforts and finest game tricks to score the initial goal of the game in the second quarter. It was Natalya Gataulina of Kazakhstan who successfully managed to penetrate the opponents’ defence and score a field goal for her side in the 21st minute. This gave Kazakhstan desired lead of 1-0 over Russia. Natalya again struck back in the 28th minute, scoring a beautiful field goal and thus doubling the lead for her side. The half time score stood at 2-0 with Kazakhstan in the lead.
Russia had a chance to make a comeback in the third quarter when they were awarded a penalty corner but they could not reap the benefit of the opportunity. Unfazed by this, the Russian women kept making attempts to create scoring chances when they were again given a penalty corner in the 35th minute. Margarita Drepenkina took the strike and faultlessly converted it into the first goal for her team. Natalya of Kazakhstan scored the third goal for her team in the 38th minute to shore up the score to 3-1 with Kazakhstan leading from the front. In the concluding minutes, Russia managed to close in the gap as Kristina Shumilina converted a penalty corner for Russia taking the score to 3-2.
While Russia was looking at equalizing the score they had a few missed opportunities resulting in no further goals getting added in the last session. Kazakhstan with their three goals won against Russia two.
Commenting on the performance by the team Serik Kalimbayev, Coach, Kazakhstan said, “I am happy with the team’s performance and it is nice seeing their coordination on the field. This win was required before entering the quarter finals as this will help in boosting the confidence in taking on the future clashes.”
Commenting on the close match Aleksandra Leonova,Coach, Russia said, “It was not the perfect start and we lost the lead to them from the start. We need to start playing with more confidence. We changed the goalkeeper which helped in our strategy to control them. We got scoring opportunities but failed to convert them which included even the penalty corners. The forwards played well but unfortunately only by the end of the match.”