Women’s Asian Champions Trophy: India beat Thailand 7-1
Local player Sangita Kumari (29th, 45th, 45th) starred for the home team, scoring a hat-trick to ensure that India maintained an unbeaten record
Playing their first match on home soil in one-and-a-half years, the Indian hockey team expectedly beat Thailand 7-1 in the Women’s Asian Champions Trophy opener in Ranchi on Friday evening.
Local player Sangita Kumari (29th, 45th, 45th) starred for the home team, scoring a hat-trick to ensure that India maintained an unbeaten record against the southeast Asian team in the six games the two teams have played against each other.
However, Thailand, the lowest ranked outfit in the six-team tournament at world No.29, scored their first ever goal against India when Supansa Samanso sounded the board in the 22nd minute against the run of play. The other Indian goals came via Monika (7th), Salima Tete (15th), Deepika (40th) and Lalremsiami (52nd).
While India was clearly the dominant team, they were far from their best despite scoring seven. India ripped apart the Thai defence, attacking regularly but lacked finishing, which was all over the place, or the home team would surely have scored in double digits.
Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Salima and Sangita created multiple chances but missed out on scoring in the goal-line melee. Had it not been for goalkeeper Siraya Yimkrajang, who was fighting a lone battle in the Thai D, India would have scored many more.
India made 27 circle penetrations of which 19 shots were on goal which could have been many more goals had India not wasted some open chances. India did not use aerial balls and relied more on long, grounded passes against an inexperienced Thailand whose midfield and defence were completely flummoxed.
In penalty corners, India wasted five out of their six chances – scoring only once when local girl Salima scored from a rebound. Many injections from Salima or Ishika Chaudhary were not even trapped properly let alone being slammed in towards the goal.
Thailand, on the other hand, had only two shots on goal and earned only two penalty corners, converting one.
The 8,000 who had turned up to witness Savita Punia and Co winning at the Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh AstroTurf Hockey Stadium returned home happy, but the hosts will need to pick up their game when they take on Malaysia on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, defending champions Japan (Rika Okagawa 13th, Mai Toriyama 43rd, Shiho Kobayakawa 54th) beat world No.18 Malaysia 3-0 while newly crowned Asian Games champions China lost 0-1 to South Korea (An Sujin).