Rani Rampal scored two goals to put Indian women team into winning ways with a 3-1 triumph over Poland in the preliminary league of the Hockey World League Semifinals at the KHC Dragons Stadium in Antwerp on Wednesday.
Coming back into the team after a nine-month break due to injury, Rampal converted a penalty corner and then scored a fine field goal with a flash strike in open play to overcome the crowding tactics of the Polish rivals in a Pool B encounter.
The Indian eves were earlier beaten by Belgium and New Zealand in previous two matches.
Even on Wednesday, while getting into winning form, they missed a lot of chances before sealing victory with the third goal which was set up by Rampal.
India were dominant from the start, laying seize on the rival circle in the first quarter, but failed to have a good shot at the opposition goal.
Three penalty corners were wasted as the Indian eves got caught in tangles after wasting time dribbling inside the circle instead of having a crack at the goal.
It was against the run of play that Poland actually managed find the back of the Indian goal in the 19th minute, but the goal was reversed on a review sought by India. The ball had struck a polish striker on the foot before it was passed to Magdalena Zagajska, who swatted it into the net.
Within a minute, India took the lead on their fifth penalty corner a Rampal’s shot beat the rival goalkeeper to end in the left corner of the goal.
India had a good chance to bolster the score in the 27th minute when Poland’s defenders lost the ball in their own territory and were caught off-guard as the Indians mounted a raid. Rampal picked a pass on top of the circle and squared it to Ritu Rani, whose shot lacked the direction or power to beat Polish custodian Marta Kucharska.
Rampal again shot on target in the 28th minute after being fed a short pass by Ritu Rani from the left. She beat the opposition goalkeeper with a deft placement.
Poland’s defence managed to thwart the Indians by crowding their territory and managed to reduce the margin in the 49th minute when India conceded a self goal.
Natalia Wisniewska darted into the circle from right and sent in a cross, which seemed well-covered by Indian custodian Savita, but the ball went past her pads from the stick of a diving defender Monika.
India spiked any chances of a Polish resurgence when Vandana Katariya deflected Rani Rampal’s shot into the boards in the 53rd minute to seal their first win in three outings. India will play world no.2 Australia in their final Pool B match on Saturday.
Meanwhile, world champions The Netherlands won their second successive game by defeating Japan 4-0 with two goals coming from captain Maartje Paumen, who found the target with from penalty corners.