Sports

FIH Pro League | India in free-fall as it loses again, this time to Australia

Australia’s players celebrate after scoring against India in the Hockey FIH PRO League women at the Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneswar, on Wednesday, February 7, 2024.
| Photo Credit: BISWARANJAN ROUT

The Indian women’s hockey team continued its downward spiral, losing its third consecutive match in the FIH Pro League 3-0 against Australia at the Kalinga Stadium on Wednesday.

An aggressive start and a wasted early penalty corner was the lone bright spot for the team that has been struggling to get anything going for it. Nothing seems to be working for the team, with every player in every department appearing more desperate than decisive on the field. 

Australia has been less than impressive here, but on Wednesday, it was clearly the superior side. Its first goal exposed both the Indians’ lack of tactical awareness and their fitness.

Kaitlin Nobbs ran away with the ball on the counter and had entered the circle, composed herself and the ball and was ready to shoot before the Indians could back-pedal into defence. Grace Stewart, again left unmarked, only had to deflect it in.

Nobbs got one of her own later, again all alone in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper and an absent defence. In between, India earned a few PCs, but Gurjit Kaur’s flicks had no power to cause any trouble even as Australia made its lone one count. The Indian forwards also struggled to get shots on target as the host looked like a team playing out of its league.

Earlier in the day, China returned to winning ways with a 3-1 victory against the USA to remain second on the points table, easily finding ways past the American defence to create scoring chances early on.

The second half saw USA step on the attack and earn a series of PCs but were thwarted by both the Chinese defence and the post before finally getting one past.

The results: China (Wen Dan 2, Meirong Zou) bt USA 1 (Jacqueline Sumfest); Australia 3 (Grace Stewart, Tatum Stewart, Kaitlin Nobbs) bt India 0.

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