Incheon: Indian Women's Hockey Team registered their second consecutive victory of their South Korea Tour as they defeated hosts South Korea by 3-2 in the second match of their five-match series here at the Jinchun National Athletic Centre on Tuesday. Goals for India were scored by Poonam Rani (6'), skipper Rani (27') and Gurjit Kaur (32') while Yurim Lee (10') and Jungeun Seo (31') scored for the hosts.
With the confidence levels high after their victory in the first match yesterday, India started the first quarter aggressively by making attacking forays inside the opposition's half, and were rewarded for their efforts as Poonam Rani scored for the visitors in the 6th minute to give her side the lead. South Korea also had chances in the first quarter as they were awarded two PCs, and made a comeback into the match by converting the first one through Yurim Lee in the 10th minute to make the scores 1-1. The hosts could have taken the lead in the latter stages of the first quarter but India defended well to save the second PC as the teams ended the first period locked at a goal apiece.
The second quarter saw South Korea start off from where they left in the first quarter as they won back-to-back Penalty Corners to put India under pressure. However, the visitors stuck to their task as they defended well as a unit, with their young Goalkeeper Swati making crucial saves to deny the hosts from going in front. With the pressure piling on India, it was a brilliant team-move from the visitors on the counter which saw captain Rani find the back of the net to give her team an important 2-1 lead in the 27th minute. The teams went into half-time with India leading by a single goal, but with South Korea having the better chances in the opening half-hour, the hosts looked to make them count in the last two quarters.
India did not start the third quarter well as they conceded an early goal in the 31st minute when South Korea's Jungeun Seo scored a field goal to equalize for the second time in the match. However, India's forwards produced some precise passing and purpose to win a Penalty Corner in the 32nd minute which was well-converted by Gurjit Kaur to give the visitors the lead for the third time in the match. South Korea did not throw in the towel, and with almost 25 minutes still to play in the match, they showed fight to unnerve the Indian defence which saw them win a Penalty Stroke in the 34th minute. But to the hosts' disappointment, the PS was saved by Indian goalkeeper Swati.
It was an important last quarter in the context of the match as South Korea looked to find the equalizer while the visitors looked to hold on to the lead. The hosts tried to win back possession quickly and played some aggressive hockey in the final quarter but the Indian defence stood tall to the task and mustered out a resolute defensive performance. In the final few minutes, the hosts played with 11 outfield players, but India's grit and determination made sure that the team registered their second consecutive victory and take a 2-0 lead in the series.
Indian Women's Hockey team will play their third match of the five match series against South Korea on 8th March, 2018 at 1100hrs IST.