Jakarta: Riding on skipper Rani Rampal’s three goals India overcame a spirited Thailand 5-0 to top their Pool ‘B’ campaign with an all-win record in the Women’s hockey competition at the Asian Games here on Monday.
For the first time in this tournament the Indians were forced to play goalless for over half-an-hour (37 minutes). It was only in the third quarter that the winners pumped in five goals to make victory look authentic. Other goal scorers were Monika and Navjot Kaur (1each).
India ended their four-match league assignment scoring 38 goals and conceding only one. However this afternoon’s showing left much to be desired.
Though nothing was at stake for the title contender Indians as they had already qualified for the semi-finals, their sluggish approach was cause of worry.
“We put up the pressure in the last quarter and in four minutes scored three goals,” said Rani after the match.
The Thai girls from the very start adopted defensive tactics and the Indians found it hard to breach
Thais also realized that their forwards were no position to threaten the rival defence so they thought it prudent to beef up their defence. The Indians tried hard but were frustrated as they could not put it across their rivals in the first session.
“One should not read too much into today’s display. We played to win and we won. We increased the pressure in the last quarter, but we should have done it in the first half also,” Rani said.
After failing to score in first 30 minutes, Indians started on aggressive note in the second and broke the deadlock in the 37th minute when Rani intercepted a long pass inside the circle and slammed home (1-0).
India had to wait for another nine minutes to increase the lead and this time also Rani was the scorer as she weaved past couple of defenders to slam home the second goal.
Having taken two-goal lead Indians moved up and virtually laid seize around the Thai defence, which could not hold on the pressure for long and crumbled.
Monika made it 3-0 in the 52nd minute and then Navjot and Rani fired a goal each in the 55th and 56th minutes respectively to complete the rout. Coach Marijne Sjoerd was happy with the margin of victory.
“We have completed our assignment with an all-win record. We conceded only one goal that too against Korea. Our forwards have clicked well and we have also defended well,” the coach said.