February 23, 2024

The Indian women hockey team’s disappointing run in the FIH Pro League continued as it lost 1-2 to China in Rourkela on Monday. India took the lead in the seventh minute through Sangita Kumari’s field goal but China equalised in the 14th minute through Gu Bingfeng (penalty corner), who scored his second goal of the match in the 53rd minute through a penalty stroke. India had lost to China by the same 1-2 margin in their earlier match on February 3 in Bhubaneswar.

India earned five penalty corners in the match — as against four by China — but as is their wont, they could not convert a single one.

The two sides were locked 1-1 at the end of the first quarter. Sangita gave the finishing touches after receiving a pass from Vandana Katariya.

Just a minute before the end of the first quarter, Bingfeng smashed the ball past India captain and goalkeeper Savita Punia in her second PC attempt.

The next two quarters did not produce any goal from both sides.

China enjoyed greater ball possession in the second quarter but the Indian defence was resilient in not allowing the visitors to connect the dots and take the lead.

With about 10 minutes left in the second quarter, China were awarded a penalty corner but Savita made a fine save. The Indians immediately mounted a counter attack and found themselves with an opportunity to score courtesy of another penalty corner.

However, the Chinese defence was equal to the task as the half ended at 1-1 scoreline.

China were awarded a penalty corner early in the third quarter but a referral from a vigilant Neha Goyal led to that decision being reversed as the ball had hit the shin of Chinese player Huang Haiyan.

India kept good control of the ball in the third quarter while the Chinese played deep inside their own half, preventing the Indians from breaking through their defence. The stalemate continued with neither team finding the back of the net in the third quarter.

Both teams came close to taking the lead on numerous occasions but it was China who struck their second goal after being awarded a penalty stroke.

Bingfeng stepped up to take the penalty stroke and made no mistake as the Chinese had their noses in front with about seven minutes left on the clock.

India were awarded two successive penalty corners in the 55th minute but the Chinese defence kept the ball out on both occasions. China held on to their slender lead of one goal till the end.

India had also lost to the Netherlands (1-3) and Australia (0-3) before beating USA 3-1 on February 9.

India face the Netherlands again in their next match here on Wednesday.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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