The Indian women’s hockey team managed a 2-2 draw against reigning Olympic champions Great Britain to end with a solitary defeat to their name. The Indians had their noses ahead with goals from Navjot Kaur and Gurjit Kaur, but were pegged back by the hosts in the final quarter, with defender Anna Toman scoring in the final minute of the game.
Having suffered their first loss of the tour in the previous game, the Indian team went on the attack from the very beginning. The Indian forwards created havoc for the British backline, creating a host of good opportunities for themselves. Their persistence paid off as forward Navjot slotted past goalkeeper Sabbie Heesh in the eighth minute.
India were also awarded a couple of penalty corners in the first quarter, but could not convert their chances as they went into the first break with a 1-0 advantage.
The second quarter saw a more even distribution of play, with Great Britain creating chances of their own. The hosts earned three penalty corners within a span of minutes, but veteran Indian goalkeeper Savita Punia, playing her 200th international match, was equal to all of them.
The third quarter followed a similar pattern, with both sides creating chances. India created more pronounced opportunities, but the experienced British defence ensured there was no difference in the scoreline. Their substitute goalkeeper Amy Tennant, who replaced Heesh at half-time, pulled off a clever save to deny India’s Gurjit a goal in the 40th minute.
Frantic final quarter
Indian defender Gurjit though was not to be stopped eight minutes later, as she found the back of the net through a penalty corner. With a two-goal cushion, it looked like the Indian side would end their tour with a win, but the hosts had other plans as they transformed the result in the dying minutes of the game.
Great Britain managed to pull one back through a penalty corner in the 55th minute, with Elizabeth Neal’s sweetly timed shot outfoxing the Indian defenders. That goal gave the Olympic champions newfound confidence as they began exploiting gaps in the opposition defence in search of an equaliser.
They finally found that equaliser with the last throw of the dice, with Toman scoring through yet another penalty corner to force a draw in the final tour game.
After a largely successful tour of Britain, the Indian eves will now return home to Bhubaneswar, where they will face the United States in back-to-back Olympic qualifier matches in the first week of November.