Pietie Coetzee helped South Africa to its second win of the competition over Ukraine, 2-0. Alessia Padalino scored a hat-trick to help Italy overcome Poland (4-1). India recorded its first win of the competition against Canada (4-1), much to the delight of the local crowd.
Poland vs. Italy: 1-4 (half-time: 0-0)
It was excellent conditions for the first match of the second day of the Hero FIH Road to London: bright sunshine and cool (15C) temperature. Both teams played hard matches yesterday (narrow 2-1 loss for Poland against South Africa, hard fought tie for Italy 2-2 against Canada) and it took the teams a while to find their legs for this second match.
There were hardly any scoring opportunities in the first half, with play staying in midfield and unforced errors hampering both teams.
Things heated up in second period, with a good run by Aleksandra Bugala on the right wing, shooting just wide of the Italian goal. Immediately after, Giuliana Ruggeri collected the ball in the circle, turned around in traffic and unleashed a reverse stick shot to open the scoring for Italy. Striker Alessia Doriana Padalino added two goals in short succession and things looked brighter for Italy.
Poland pulled back a goal but play slowed down again, and Italy maintained a strong grip on the proceedings. Padalino scored again, completing the first hat-trick of the competition, and Italy collected the three points for the clear 4-1 win.
Player of the Match was Alessia Doriana Padalino of Italy.
For more information on POL v ITA, click here.
South Africa vs. Ukraine: 2-0 (half-time: 2-0)
Ukraine was the surprise of Day One, forcing an excellent 1-1 tie against host India, while top ranked South Africa struggled to dispose of Poland, 2-1.
The match was slow to gain momentum. South Africa was inefficient on its first penalty-corner, but it was once again ace-striker Pietie Coetzee who gave them the lead, when she dove to intercept a defender’s pass and deflect it past the Ukrainian goal-keeper. Lauren Penny added a goal after a scramble in the Ukrainian circle, with players crashing in the net and on the posts. Things were looking up for South Africa, going into the break with a two-goal lead.
South Africa controlled play in second period, with Ukraine, possibly tired after its battle against India the night before, looking short of ideas to threaten the South African defense. Ukraine managed to keep the South African attackers at bay, and there was no score in second period, with South Africa was satisfied to cruise to their second win of the tournament.
Player of the Match was Pietie Coetzee of South Africa.
For more information on RSA v UKR, click here.
India vs. Canada: 4-1 (half-time: 3-0)
Both teams opened the tournament with a draw, India 1-1 against Ukraineand Canada against Italy, 2-2. Both teams were in need of a win today to keep alive their hope of reaching the Final next Saturday.
Stephanie Jameson was honored before the match for earning her 164th International Cap and becoming the highest capped player for the Canadian team.
Pushed by the local crowd, the Indian women immediately besieged the Canadian circle and Azelia Liu in goal was called into action early. A long solitary run by Anuradha Devi Thokchom earned India a penalty-corner, well defended by Canada. The Indians were however successful on their second penalty-corner by Soundarya Yendala, on hand on the far post to redirect the initial shot. Rani Rampal added a goal soon after, running on the back line and lifting the ball from a difficult angle over the diving goal-keeper.
Liu was multiplying the saves, including on a spectacular one-on-one with an Indian forward, but could not prevent Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam from scoring a third goal from the top of the circle after a penalty-corner option that seemed to fizzle. India went into the break with the comfortable three-goal lead.
Canada started the second period more determined, pressing harder on the Indian midfield and defense to prevent them from launching their running game. Canada had the upper hand for awhile, but India increased its lead on a counter-attack, Thokchom unleashed a stunning shot in the top corner of the Canadian goal. Canada maintained its pressure and was rewarded for its efforts in the final minute, when Hannah Haughn emerged from a scramble with the ball and pushed it into the goal.
Player of the Match was Asunta Lakra of India.
For more information on IND v CAN, click here.
Schedule for Tuesday February 21:
10h00: Canada vs. Ukraine
12h00: Italy vs. South Africa
18h00: Poland vs. India
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