The Indian women’s hockey team wrapped up its tour of Argentina with a 1-1 draw against the host’s senior side in Buenos Aires on Sunday.
Up against the world No. 2, Rani Rampal-led India put up a brave show with their captain giving them the lead in the 35th minute before Emilia Forcherio converted a penalty stroke five minutes from time to draw level.
The Indian eves played seven matches during the Argentina tour. They drew the first two matches against the host’s junior team, lost the next two against a B side, and then lost two against the Argentina senior team. The penultimate match was abandoned due to inclement weather.
Having failed to taste success on the tour, the Indian women’s hockey team began the final game with great intent. But up against the Las Leonas in their den, it was always going to be an uphill task.
The Argentines relied on their well-structured attacks to probe the Indian backline, and were soon on top of the game, earning two short corners in the opening three minutes.
But with the experienced Savita Punia back in the Indian goal, the threat was seen off away without much fuss.
The Indians too had their chances with penalty corners in the opening two quarters. But a sluggish Rani Rampal failed to make them count as the teams headed into half time break with nothing between them.
The Indian women’s hockey team began well in the second half, often asking questions of the Argentine defence. One such move saw captain Rani Rampal score.
Combining well with Vandana Katariya, Rani made the most of a quality pass and scored with a quick release that caught the Argentine goalkeeper by surprise.
Though India kept the pressure on their opponents for the remainder of the match, they couldn’t make it count and were made to pay for the missed opportunities minutes before the full-time hooter.
With a body foul on the line while defending a penalty corner handing the Argentine women a penalty stroke, Emilia Forcherio made full use of the chance to draw her side level as Argentina wrapped up their bilateral series with India without a loss.
“After the 1-0 lead, we had to stay calm and continue to pursue our attack. We had to play more smartly, but that’s something we can work on,” the Indian chief coach Sjoerd Marijne said, summing up the match.
Lead photo: Hockey India