India began Day 4 of the 21st Commonwealth Games with a big win by defeating England in a pool match in women's hockey. The Indian women's hockey team rallied from a goal down to script a stunning 2-1 triumph over Olympic champions England in its third Pool A match. India won 2-1 where Navneet and Gurjeet scored for India.
England skipper Alexandra Danson (1st minute) scored in the opening minute to put her team ahead right at the start in the Pool A match of the women`s hockey. India hit back through Rani (42nd minute) and Gurjit (48th minute) in the second half to claim a hard-fought win.
India, aiming to do better than the fifth-place finish at the last two CWG editions, are now second on the points table behind England and look set to qualify for the semifinals. Gurjit Kaur and Navneet Kaur sounded the board for India in the 42nd and 48th minute after England captain Alexandra Danson had put her team ahead just 35 seconds into the game. "This is the first time we beat England, they are the (Rio 2016) Olympic champions so we are very happy," India captain Rani Rampal said after the match.
"It's always a special moment and achievement when you beat the Olympic champions. We've had very little chance to compete against them, and today was our day. We had to grab the chances and work hard," she added.
The Indian women's hockey team had started poorly in the event by going down to lower-ranked Wales but has since recovered, beating Malaysia and now England. The Indian team, after conceding the early goal, defended stoically in the first half to ensure that the gap didn't widen between the two sides.
In the second half, Gurjit converted the only penalty corner she earned to bring the side back into the match. Just six minutes later, forward Navneet scored the winning field goal giving the side a morale-boosting victory. "It is awesome, we worked hard the whole game. We defended hard in the first half and held them. We came out more aggressive in the second half and put on the pressure," said Rani.
The 22-year-old Navneet said scoring against the Olympic champions is easily among the biggest moments of her career. "It's my first biggest memorable moment, I have more confidence now for the next games. We're going to win all the matches from now on. We lost to Wales so this match was important for us to win, to get to the semifinals," she added.
India women's win comes a day after the men's team were forced into a 2-2 draw against Pakistan on Saturday. India had taken a comfortable 2-0 lead with goals from Dilpreet Singh (13th minute) and Harmanpreet Singh (20th) but a desperate Pakistan reduced the margins with goals from striker Muhammad Irfan Junior (39th) and Ali Mubashar (60th minute, penalty corner). With India seemingly coasting to a narrow win, Pakistan snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a penalty corner conversion by Ali Mubashar in the last few seconds.
India had dominated right from the start on Saturday and the Pakistanis were forced into some desperate defending at times to thwart the repeated Indian attacks. But Pakistan ensured a point off virtually the last bit of action of the match when Ali flicked a penalty corner into the bottom right corner past Indian goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh.
(With agency inputs)