FIH Women's Hockey Pro League 2023-24: India end mini-tournament with 1-1 (2-1) shootout win against the USA

India v USA - FIH Womens Hockey World Cup
India v USA - FIH Womens Hockey World Cup

India ended the FIH Women's Hockey Pro League mini-tournament with a 2-1 shootout win against the USA after both teams were locked 1-1 in regulation time on Sunday, February 18.

A penalty corner from Deepika midway through the second quarter gave the Indians the lead but Ashley Sessa restored parity for the USA off their first short corner at the end of the third quarter.

The Indians thus ended the Women's Hockey Pro League mini-tournament with eight points from as many matches while the USA earned their first point after seven consecutive defeats in the Women's FIH Pro League.

The USA began with flair by probing the Indian defence early while Sangita Kumari had a chance to take a shot at the USA goal in the 10th minute but managed a swing and miss instead.

Both Kelsey Bing and Savita Punia had a quiet opening quarter before the Indians earned a penalty corner in the 19th minute. Deepika sounded the backboard with a low thundering drag flick to help the Indians take a 1-0 lead.

Sangita Kumari earned a penalty corner for the Indians in the 25th minute but Kelsey Bing pulled off multiple saves after padding the drag-flick away.

Giving an exhibition of sublime 3D skills, Deepika weaved her way into the attacking circle in the 28th minute before the Indians earned a short corner which Kelsey Bing dealt with admirably.

Lalremsiami then sprinted into the striking circle balancing the ball on her stick which was lifted above ground level to earn a penalty corner immediately after the long breather. Three more follow-up short corners resulted but the Indians failed to convert any.

Ashley Sessa manufactured a short corner in the 44th minute before taking a tumble to send the ball into the roof of the Indian net off a deflection from the drag flick.

Navneet Kaur picked up a five-minute yellow card in the 48th minute before the USA earned their second penalty corner four minutes later. A delicate back-flip routine from the visitors did not come as planned with both teams unable to break the 1-1 deadlock at the end of 60 minutes.

Leah Crouse was denied by Savita in the shootout that followed but scored after being given a re-award by the video umpire.

Deepika meanwhile missed a penalty stroke which was awarded after Sangita Kumari was obstructed by Kelsey Bing.

Mumtaz Khan scored with a flourish while Sonika gave India the lead after a miss from Abigail Tamer. Savita denied Ashley Sessa while Lalremsiami, who had a chance to win the game for India, failed to score.

Madeleine Zimmer's shot was then saved by Savita as a result of which the hosts won the shootout 2-1.

Netherlands on top in Women's Hockey Pro League, India fifth at the end of mini-tournament

India will play Argentina next at the Women's Hockey Pro League in May
India will play Argentina next at the Women's Hockey Pro League in May

After the India leg of the FIH Women's Hockey Pro League, the Netherlands women remain unbeaten with 36 points from 12 matches.

While the mighty Dutch were always expected to dominate the competition, China stunned the hockey world by soaring to second place on the points table.

With 15 points from eight matches, the Chinese under the tutelage of Alysson Annan - who was formerly with the Dutch women's side - have lost just three times.

Argentina are in third place with 14 points from seven games while Australia are fourth with 12 points from eight matches.

India, who are placed fifth in the Women's Hockey Pro League, will play Argentina and Belgium in Antwerp in May.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar