Jakarta: India’s women’s hockey team began its 18th Asian Games campaign in an emphatic fashion, flooring hosts Indonesia 8-0 in a Pool A contest at the Gelora Bung Karno Hockey Field here on Sunday. Drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur scored a hat-trick in the 17th, 22nd and 57th minutes, while striker Vandana Katariya (14th and 28th), Navneet Kaur (25th and 50th) and Udita (nint) scored the goals for India.
For Indonesia, it was a tough debut in the Asian Games for their women’s hockey team as it came up against the continent’s top-ranked side which had claimed a bronze medal at the 2014 Asiad. India started the first quarter by winning three consecutive penalty corners in the first six minutes, but the Indonesian defence did well to block the first two attempts and the third attempt saw Gurjit force a save by the Indonesian goalkeeper Selly Amalia Florentina.
In the 9th minute though, Namita Toppo’s shot from the edge of the circle was stopped by the Florentina but Udita put the rebound into the back of the net to give India the lead. India continued to dominate the possession in the later stages of the first period and extended their lead in the 14th minute as Vandana played a one-two with Navjot Kaur inside the striking circle before producing a fine finish to make it 2-0 for India.
Gurjit then joined the party by converting two penalty corners in the 17th and 22nd minute to make it 4-0. The Indian team kept thriving forward and the fifth goal arrived soon when Navneet wriggled past two Indonesian defenders and got a reverse shot away, which made its way into the back of net in the 25th minute.
Three minutes later, Vandana converted from a penalty corner to mark India’s sixth goal inside the half-time. The Indian team earned two more penalty corners in the early stages of the third quarter, but the Indonesian defence held firm to keep out the Indians.
In the 37th minute, captain Rani Rampal forced the Indonesian goalkeeper to make a double save, and then earn her team another penalty corner. However, Rani’s resulting shot was well saved by Florentina again. A minute later, India won another penalty corner which was taken by Gurjit Kaur but hit the first rusher’s body and was deemed dangerous by the umpire.
The start of the fourth quarter saw India win four consecutive penalty corners in the 49th minute as they kept the pressure on their opponents, but the visitors could not make the most of their opportunities as Indonesia defended well. However, it was Navneet who scored her second goal in the 50th minute as she deflected Monika’s pass from the right flank into the back of the net. Gurjit then completed her hat-trick in the 57th minute to end India’s scoring in the match as Sjoerd Marijne-coached side eased to an 8-0 triumph.