Hockey: Resolute India Women Play Out a 1-1 Draw Against Japan
Poonam Rani scored for India in the seventh minute, while Hazuki Nagai equalised for Japan in the 19th minute. (Photo credit: WordsWork)
Darwin, Australia: A resolute India drew 1-1 against Japan in their second game of the four-nation women's hockey tournament to register their first point in the tournament in Darwin, Australia on Wednesday.
Poonam Rani scored for India in the seventh minute, while Hazuki Nagai equalised for Japan in the 19th minute.
Japan started strongly by holding on to the possession and penetrating the Indian circle multiple times in the opening minutes of the game.
The Indians, however, weathered the storm and quickly established their control over the game.
India almost took the lead with their first attack of the game but Poonam's try was denied by an alert Japanese goalkeeper Sakiyo Asano.
Two minutes later, Anuradha Thokchom sped through Japan's right side, and once at the baseline won a smart penalty corner for India, the first of the game.
From the resultant set piece, India went for a well-worked routine to take the lead. Sushila, at the top of the circle, flicked the ball on to Poonam Rani's stick whose deflection beat Asano all ends up.
Encouraged by the early lead, India pressed further and created several chances only to be denied by Asano in front of Japan goal.
India earned two more penalty corners soon and Deep Grace Ekka drew a sharp save from Asano from the second one.
India started the second quarter in the same vein but it was Japan who scored against the run of play when Nagai converted a penalty corner in the 19th minute to draw level.
The two teams were locked in a technical battle after the equaliser as Japan started pressing forward, but India's strong backline stood firm.
Both teams adopted a cautious approach in the second half, playing most of the game in the midfield.
India came close to secure the winner just two minutes from the hooter when they earned another penalty corner but the resultant shot went wide.
India will now take on Australia in their final round-robin match on Friday.