Gold Coast, April 5: India’s hockey campaign was off to a disappointing start at the Commonwealth Games after the country’s women’s team was upstaged 2-3 by a lower-ranked Wales in a Group A clash here on Thursday.
The World No. 10 Indian team, chasing its first CWG medal after the 2006 Melbourne Games silver, trailed the first 30 minutes of the match, scored a couple of goals in the third period to draw level before conceding one in the dying minutes of the match to end up on the losing side against their World No. 26 rivals.
Lisa Daley (7th minute), Sian French (26th minute) and Natasha Marke-Jones (57th minute) did the scoring for Wales, while skipper Rani Rampal (34th minute) and Nikki Pradhan (41st minute) put India on the scoresheet.
India frittered away 14 penalty corner opportunities in the course of the match. “We needed to be energetic and play for attacking hockey. We pushed higher up, started attacking more and pressed,” a disappointed Indian captain Rani Pampal said after the match.
Coach Harendra Singh was a lot critical of the performance and said the side needed to be better at penalty corner conversion.
“We conceded soft goals, which is concerning. We only had a 31 percent conversion rate. We missed our chances despite having 50 percent of our shots on goal. That’s mainly down to the Welsh goalkeeper Roseanne Thomas who played superbly,” he added.
The Indian women’s hockey team has been finishing fifth for the last two editions of the Games. India will take on Malaysia in their second group match tomorrow.
“We need to make the most of our chances and score more goals, as we missed lots of shots. The pressure is on for the next few games, but we’re up to the challenge,” said Harendra. (With PTI inputs)