Indian women’s hockey team suffered a huge upset by the hands of minnows Wales, ranked 26th in the world, in the opening encounter of Pool A here in Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast on Thursday.
After trailing by two goals to zero during half-time, World no. 10 Indian team made a sensational comeback in third and fourth quarter to draw the scores back to level but a late goal from Wales stick gave them the crucial victory and important three points.
Wales is the lowest ranked (World no.26) nation in Pool A, which consists of England (World no.2), India (10), South Africa (14) and Malaysia (22).
Manchester Commonwealth Games Gold medalist, India had a pathetic penalty corner conversion rate as the team could only score one goal out of fifteen penalty corners.
FT. The Indian Eves slip to defeat against Wales in the final minutes of their opening game of the @GC2018 Commonwealth Games on 5th April 2018, despite a brilliant performance from @imranirampal to bring the scores level.#INDvWAL #IndiaKaGame #HallaHockeyKa #GC2018 pic.twitter.com/m2RvQcJ0x6
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) April 5, 2018
The Rani Rampal led Indian team, one of the pre-tournament favourites to win a medal in Gold Coast looked pretty slow and it was Wales, who drew the first blood in the first quarter when French diverted the ball into the net to give her team a crucial lead of 1-0 in 8th minute.
India made a counter-attack and win their first penalty counter in 9th minute but Gurjit’s drag-flick was stopped beautifully by the Wales goal-keeper.
In the 11th minute of the second quarter, Wales enhanced their lead by 2-0 through penalty stroke when Indian defender intentionally pushed the Wales striker inside the circle.
During the half time, Wales looked like a much stronger side and it was India, who trailed by 0-2. Indian hockey team had many chances but failed to convert it into the goals.
India finally converted a penalty corner in 5th minute of the third quarter when Indian captain Rani Rampal’s shot found the back of the net to decrease the margin by 1-2.
Indian eves continued to attack and finally level the things by 2-2 after a sensational touch in the circle went past the Wales goal-keeper but a late goal from Natasha Marke-Jones against the run of play sealed the game for Wales.
Now, India would have to play every match like a do or die situation and would have to beat tough competition from England and South-Africa in order to make it to the next round as only top two teams will qualify from each pool.
India will take on Malaysia on 6th April in the second rubber of Pool A in Commonwealth Games 2018.