India became the first winner of the Women’s Champions Challenge II in hockey history. The Indian team defeated Belgium (6-3) in Saturday’s exciting final in Kazan, Russia. Ireland took the bronze medal, defeating Ukraine 2-1.
India played a perfect match, especially like the Asian team did in the entire Champions Challenge II. Leading 2-0 at half time, India extended the score early in the second half. With Belgium scoring three times, the Indian women’s team did what the Indian men’s team sometimes forget when leading: India kept attacking and scoring goals and didn’t fall back in just defending.
Rani Rampal was the match winner with four goals in the final. She became also top scorer of the event.
Ireland won the bronze medal after defeating Ukraine in the bronze medal match. Belarus claimed the fifth position after a victory over Canada. Malaysia finished seventh and host Russia claimed the eight position.
DAY 5 REPORTS
FINAL: India defeated Belgium 6-3 (2-0 HT)
India played the perfect match in the final against Belgium. During the first 15 minutes, both team had their chances, but it was India that finally opened the score when Rani RAMPAL scored the first of her four goals in the final. India extended the lead three minutes later through a field goal of Saba ANJUM
After leading 2-0 at half time, India kept attacking. It was again RAMPAL who scored three minutes into the second half. Belgium came back quickly, but India kept looking for goals. Every time Belgium hoped that the gap between the two teams was almost closed, India scored another goal. When RAMPAL put the 6-2 on the score board with only 15 minutes to play, it was clear that India would win the Women’s Champions Challenge II
Bronze medal match: Ireland defeated Ukraine 2-1 (1-0 HT)
In temperatures of 30 degrees Ireland won the bronze medal defeating Ukraine by 2-1. Ireland started the game well creating chances and in the 11 minute after great work by Irish Captain Eimear Cregan set up Roisin Flinn to give Ireland the lead. Ukraine forced two penalty corners in the half but solid defence sent Ireland in at half time 1-0 up.
Ukraine equalised against the run of play in the 45 minute when a free hit into the circle took a deflection giving Irish keeper Goode no chance. Ireland pushed for the winning goal and were rewarded in the 64 minute when from a penalty corner Flinn got the final touch to score her second and Ireland’s winner.
Irish Coach Muller said after the game “We played very well throughout and deserved victory. I am very happy with the way we played over the course of the competition and overall this was a very beneficial Tournament for our preparations for the European Championship in August.”
Match for fifth position: Belarus defeated Canada 2-1 (1-0 HT)
Belarus upset Canada in the match for the fifth position at the Women’s Champions Challenge II by winning 2-1. Both teams were eager to win the encounter and sometimes needed some physical play, especially from the Belarus side, during the entire match. Umpires Thomas and Kaltypan showed four green, three yellow and one red cards. Belarus player Yuliya MIKHEICHYK tried to injure a Canadian player near the end of the match and received the red card for her offence. Tournament Director Barbara Morgan suspended MIKHEICHYK for the next international match played by the Belarus team.
Despite the high number of cards, the match stayed interesting until the end. Belarus opened the score just before half time when captain Volha SHYNTAR converted a penalty stroke. In the 57th minute, Belarus scored for a second time and at that stage it looked like the match was locked. Depite being two goals behind, Canada kept fighting. It was Stephanie JAMESON who scored the 2-1 with just six minutes to play. Canada kept looking for the equalizer, but didn’t succeed to force extra time.
Match for seventh position: Malaysia defeated Russia 2-1 (0-0 HT)
Host Russia didn’t succeed to win a match at the Women’s Champions Challenge II. In the match for the seventh position against Malaysia, the Asian team was stronger: 2-1. Earlier in the tournament, Russia drew against Malaysia 2-2.
After a first half without any goals, Malaysia opened the score in the 42nd minute when Nurul Md MOKHTAR converted a penalty corner. Russia was behind for only 5 minutes. Olga SHENTSOVA put the 1-1 on the scoreboard from a penalty corner. Although the home crowd hoped that this would give Russia the spirit to win the match, but Malaysian Nurul Md MOKHTAR ended Russians hope by scoring the match winning goal in the 67th minute, again through a penalty corner.
Women’s Champions Challenge II Day 5: Scores and Scorers
Match 17 – 7-8 – Russia v Malaysia 1-2 (0-0 HT)
0-1 MAS Nurul Md MOKHTAR PC 42m
1-1 RUS Olga SHENTSOVA PC 47m
1-2 MAS Nurul Md MOKHTAR PC 64m
Match 18 – 5-8 – Belarus v Canada 2-1 (1-0 HT)
1-0 BLR Volha SHYNTAR PS 35m
2-0 BLR Alesia PIOTUKH PC 57m
2-1 CAN Stephanie JAMESON PC 66m
Match 19 – 3-4 – Ukraine v Ireland 1-2 (0-1 HT)
0-1 IRL Roisin FLINN FG 8m
1-1 UKR Maryna VYNOHRADOVA FG 45m
1-2 IRL Roisin FLINN PC 62m
Match 20 – 1-2 – India v Belgium 6-3 (2-0 HT)
1-0 IND Rani RAMPAL FG 17m
2-0 IND Saba ANJUM FG 20m
3-0 IND Rani RAMPAL PC 38m
3-1 BEL Valerie VERMEERSCH PC 40m
4-1 IND Rani RAMPAL FG 44m
5-1 IND Chancahn THOKCHOM FG 49m
5-2 BEL Valerie VERMEERSCH PC 52m
6-2 IND Rani RAMPAL FG 54m
6-3 BEL Jil BOON FG 55m
Fair Play: Ukraine
Top Goal Keeper: Nadine KHOUZAM (BEL)
Player of Tournament: Surinfer KAUR (IND)
Youngest Player: Rani RAMPAL (IND)
Top Goal Scorer: Rani RAMPAL (IND)
Best Defender: Stephanie JAMESON (CAN)
Most useful player: Nikki SYMMONS