India registered a 5-1 win over South Africa on Monday in the first game of the four-match series in Cape Town.
For India, Rani Rampal (12’), Monika (20’), Navneet Kaur (24’), Gurjit Kaur (25’) and Sangita Kumari (30’) scored, while South Africa found the back of the net through Captain Quanita Bobbs (44’).
Midfielder Vaishnavi Vitthal Phalke took to the pitch as a senior for the first time as she was selected to start against South Africa in this game. It marked a momentous occasion for the young player who led the junior Indian team at the Uniphar U23 5 Nations Tournament 2022 in May.
India got into their passing rhythm quickly and pushed South Africa back into their own half early on in the quarter. India took the lead through Rani (12’) who expertly converted a penalty corner to make it 1-0 in favour of the visitors. The first quarter came to a close soon after as India went into the first interval with a slender lead.
India started the next quarter at a high tempo as they were dominating possession and carving out chances at will. They scored four more goals in quick succession as Monika (20’) started India’s blitz. Navneet Kaur (24’) made it 3-0 in favour of India as she calmly slotted the ball into the net after a brilliant team move. Gurjit Kaur (25’) skilfully converted a penalty to extend India’s lead as the South African players were struggling to find a foothold in the match. Right before the quarter came to a close Sangita Kumari (30’) masterfully deflected the ball into the net from a penalty corner to further extend India’s advantage. India went into the half-time break with an emphatic 5-0 lead.
After the break, India continued to look for more goals as they were pressing the opposition relentlessly. Despite India’s constant pressure South Africa were slowly growing into the game in the 3rd quarter as they were starting to retain the ball well. South Africa did manage to pull a goal back through Quanita Bobbs (44’) who skilfully converted a penalty corner to make it 5-1. Soon after the quarter came to a close as South Africa were showing signs of a fightback going into the last quarter but India looked comfortable with their 4-goal advantage.
In the final phase of play, India was looking to extend their lead as South Africa were looking for a grandstand finish as they were hoping to get something out of the game. India was retaining the ball expertly as South Africa were chasing the game. Both teams did not find the back of the net in the fourth quarter and the game came to a close at 5-1 in favour of India