Gurjeet Kaur brace helps India women’s hockey team beat USA 5-1 to put one foot in Olympics

first_imgThe India women’s hockey team put one foot in the Tokyo Olympics next year by registering a 5-1 victory over the United States in a qualifier first leg clash at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday.India scored four goals in 11 minutes after halftime to kill the tie as Gurjeet Kaur scored a brace.Erin Matson scored a consolation goal for the USA in the 54th minute from a penalty stroke and the 13th-ranked away side got a a host of chances to reduce the deficit in the dying minutes but it was not enough. In the end the hosts took a huge step towards the Tokyo Olympics.In the second leg on Saturday, the USA will need a miracle to harbour any hopes of making the Olympics cut.India began with a high-press but the USA were sharp in creating chances and getting its shots away.Early in the second quarter, India got their first clear-cut chance when Lalremsiami hit a cross from the left towards an onrushing Sharmila at the far post. However, the winger was unable to get on the end of the cross and the USA had a lucky escape.The USA earned a lot of penalty corners but the Indian defence stood firm before, completely against the run of play, India took the lead in the 29th minute.The hosts won back to back penalty corners and Sharmila worked the ball away to Neha Goyal on the baseline, who then did brilliantly to fend off her marker and pass the ball to Lilima Minz, who stabbed home from close.advertisementIndia led 1-0 at halftime. The script took a turn for the worse for the visitors in the second period as India scored two more goals in quick succession.First, Vandana played a one-two on the left to put Sharmila Devi in the clear who then deflected the ball into the goal to double India’s lead in the 40th minute.Two minutes later, Gurjit sounded the board in her fourth attempt as India started pulling away.In the fourth quarter, they became more dominant and threatened to score from almost every foray. In the 46th minute, Salima Tete burst into the out circle to put Navneet Kaur through and the latter smashed home from the edge of the circle to make it 4-0. India made it five goals in their favour when Gurjit scored her second from a penalty stroke.Matson scored one from a penalty stroke too for the USA but it was scant consolation for them as they failed to find more goals in the remaining eight minutes.The team with the highest number of goals over the two matches will qualify for the Olympics. If both the teams are tied on goals after the second-leg, then there will be a penalty shootout to decide the winner.The ninth-ranked Indian women’s team beat the USA only once in their past ten encounters. The victory came in July, 2016 in the tri-series involving India, USA and Canada.Also Read | Pakistan hockey team fails to secure Tokyo Olympics berth after Netherlands defeatAlso see:last_img read more

Jovic admits Real Madrid transition has not been easy

first_imgLuka Jovic said he is ready to answer the call at Real Madrid following a slow start to life in the Spanish capital. Jovic – who scored 27 goals last season – is still settling in after joining Madrid from Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt in a reported €70 million (£62m/$79m). An injury in pre-season set Jovic back, while the Serbia international is yet to score for the La Liga giants in three appearances.  Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Jovic, though, did help set up a goal with a stunning flick in his first La Liga start as Madrid drew 2-2 at Villarreal prior to the international break. Asked about his start to the season with Madrid, the 21-year-old admitted to reporters that his transition has been tough, but that he’s ready to step up when called upon.  “After the pre-season, of course it’s getting better now,” he said.  “I was injured, it was that red card when I had to come off against Arsenal [in the first half of the International Champions Cup clash after Nacho Fernandez was sent off]. “It’s not easy for one young player, but I think I handled it in the best way possible and I’m ready to answer the biggest demands.” Jovic fronted the media ahead of Serbia’s Euro 2020 qualifying showdown against Portugal in Belgrade. Serbia play host to Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo, with the Balkan nation third in Group B, six points behind leaders Ukraine and two clear of Saturday’s visitors. There will also be a new head coach on the sidelines after Ljubisa Tumbakovic replaced Mladen Krstajic, who was sacked after June’s 4-1 rout of Lithuania following their 5-0 humiliation against Ukraine. And the forward says his side will be ready to deal with Ronaldo, but that there is more to Portugal than just the former Madrid and current Juventus ace.  “As far as I know, we play 11 on 11, we don’t just play against Ronaldo,” Jovic said. “We will prepare for the whole team, not just Ronaldo. “He is certainly their best individual, but they have many more interesting players who can make a problem. It will be necessary to be concentrated and disciplined as much as possible to achieve a positive result.”last_img read more