Forward Vandana takes India to HWL Round 2 semis

Indo Asian News Service

West Vancouver (Canada), April 3 (IANS) Riding on forward Vandana Katariya's stunning back-handed field goal, the Indian women's hockey team beat Belarus 1-0 in their second Pool A match to enter the semi-finals of the Women's Hockey World League Round 2 here.

On Sunday, both the teams began on a strong note and were equally poised in the first quarter as they traded a penalty corner each but failed to convert successfully to enter the second quarter in a stalemate.

While India were quick to earn their second penalty corner in the 21st minute, the opportunity could not be capitalised. Soon after, in the 22nd minute, India's goalkeeper Savita Punia was brilliant in her efforts when she saved a hard-struck penalty corner to deny Belarus an early lead.

India, however, went into halftime with a 1-0 lead after Vandana's sensational field goal in the 26th minute. This was her second goal in the tournament so far.

While India continued to show good defensive skills to hold the lead, their attack was commendable too as they made brave forays into the striking circle in the following two quarters.

India earned as many as three penalty corners in the third quarter but couldn't convert. Belarus, on the other hand, came close to scoring in the 58th minute to equalise when they won a penalty corner but Savita continued to impress with a diving save to help India win the match.

India had earlier defeated Uruguay 4-2 in a thrilling shootout in their opening match on Saturday. The semi-final game is slated to be held on April 8.

--IANS

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