Hastings (New Zealand), April 9 (IANS) Lilima Minz scored the winner to hand the Indian women’s hockey team its first victory in the Hawke’s Bay Cup, with a 1-0 win over Canada in a classification match here on Saturday.
World No.13 India, coming into the match after a hat-trick of losses, grabbed the solitary goal of the match in the 43rd minute when midfielder Lilima broke the deadlock with a brilliant bit of individual play, as she dribbled into the circle and beat the keeper with a sharp shot.
Before the goal, Rani Rampal came close to score an open goal, with the rival goalkeeper at the mercy, but she wasted the chance.
And after Lilima’s strike, India’s defence was tested to the hilt before closing out the match 1-0.
It was a big relief for chief coach Neil Hawgood, whose charges will now play world No.15 Ireland in the 5-6 place classification contest.
“Today’s game was vital for us, another loss would’ve left us competing for the wooden spoon, so I am glad we got the victory,” Hawgood said in a release.
“We controlled the ball well and held possession in key areas at key moments, a factor that helped decide the outcome of the game.”