The Indian women’s hockey team won a thrilling Pool C game against Poland 5-4 to kick start their 2024 FIH Hockey5s Women’s World Cup with a win. They later followed it up with a 7-3 comeback win over the United States.
Mumtaz Khan (4’, 14’) and Deepika Soreng (6’, 29’) scored braces for India in their opening match against Poland.
Indi was quick to take the lead with Khan (4’) scoring a field goal early in the first half. Soreng (6’) soon doubled the lead with another field goal just a couple of minutes later.
The lead didn’t stay with India for too long as Julia Kucharska (8’) and Poland’s captain Marlena Rybacha (10’) fired in field goals as the score read 2-2 with five minutes left in the first half. Khan (14’) returned to score her second goal as India had their noses in front by the end of the first half with the score reading 3-2.
The second half of the game was off to a quiet start with both teams preventing each other from scoring any goals. But as India kept the pressure on Poland with some top-quality passing, Mariana Kujur (23’) was presented with an opportunity to double India’s lead and she didn’t disappoint as they went up 4-2 courtesy of her brilliant finish.
With three minutes left on the clock, Paula Slawinska (27’) intercepted an Indian pass and scored to reduce the goal deficit to one. However, Soreng (29’) soon scored as India again had a two-goal lead. Monika Polewczak (29’) scored within no time as the score read 5-4 in favour of India with just about a minute left. The Indian Women’s Team held on to the lead as they went on to win the match 5-4.
India beat USA
The goalscorers for India were Mahima Choudhary (17’), Kujur (20’, 22’), Soreng (23’, 25’), Khan (27’), and Ajmina Kujur (29’). Meanwhile, Jacqueline Sumfest (4’, 18’) and Captain Linnea Gonzales (14’) got on the scoresheet for the United States.
The United States took the initiative in the first half, and Sumfest granted them the lead with a reverse shot that found the bottom corner of the Indian goal. India threatened to equalise immediately, but goalie Kealsie Robles stood firm against a flurry of chances, charging out to deny multiple goal-scoring opportunities for India.
The Indian forwards kept piling the pressure on USA in the later stages of the first half but failed to find the equaliser. With a minute left to play, Gonzales intercepted a clearance from the Indian defense and unleashed a close-range shot to double their lead. Kujur looked to get a goal back for India, but Robles remained vigilant in goal, swatting away the attempt as the first half drew to a close.
The second half began with India pegging USA into their own half. The pressure resulted in a challenge which was converted by Choudhary to present India with their first goal and a foothold in the contest. However, the United States remained unfazed. They were quick to bounce back as Sumfest let loose a thunderous strike from the half-line to restore the two-goal cushion for the United States.
As India looked to get back on level terms, Kujur was on her toes, deflecting a cross to breach Robles’ goal and put India within striking distance. Kujur continued to hound the US defensive line in the second half, pouncing on a loose ball in the opposition half and flashing a shot past Robles to make it level at 3-3.
With renewed vigour, the Indians pushed for another goal, and it was Soreng who scored from a tight angle to grant India the lead for the first time in the game.
Soreng went on to attempt a shot from a tighter angle, finding the far post of the goal and granting India a two-goal lead in the second half.
The Indian onslaught continued as Khan deflected a scorching pass from Jyoti Chhatri into the goal to further extend India’s lead. With a minute left in the contest, Ajmina intercepted the ball right in front of the goal and scored the seventh goal for India with an easy push.
India next plays Namibia on Thursday.