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Auckland, February 4, 2020
Skipper Rani Rampaul led the charge as Indian women produced a superb game to upset Olympic champions Britain 1-0 in their fourth hockey match in Auckland on Tuesday.
Having won their first match in the New Zealand Tour 4-0 against the hosts Development Squad, the Indian team had lost the following two matches 2-1 and 1-0, respectively to New Zealand's national team.
However, today the Indians played with full gusto as they began the match with a strong attack. The efforts paid off early as the team earned a penalty corner but could not convert. But the team continued to play with a structured defence and tight passing, which ensured little room for Britain to counter attack or create chances to score.
"We created enough chances and now we need to keep working on converting those chances but our defence stood strong through the match which was a good thing," expressed Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne after the match.
Ending the first half in a 0-0 stalemate, India made another penalty corner attempt in the third quarter but could not make the opportunity count. The team however kept up a good line of defence and continued to carry on aggressive attack.
It was not until the 47th minute when skipper Rani created space in the circle, netting a powerful shot past Britain's goalkeeper.
The 1-0 lead put serious pressure on Britain who eventually could not recover, thus conceding the loss.
"Towards the end of the match, we were under pressure but the team handled it well and even ensured a goal. The win is good for a morale boost but for me it's all about the performance and I see we can grow and become more dominant and calmer on the ball," he stated, adding that it's important for the team to recover fast in order to continue winning momentum against New Zealand in tomorrow's match.
"We now need to ensure fast recovery in order to be ready for tomorrow's match," Marijne added.