Sharmila Devi, Deep Grace Ekka score in Indian women's hockey team's 2-2 draw with Argentina junior women

In a well-contested match, goals from young Indian striker Sharmila (22nd) and the experienced Ekka (31st) were cancelled out by strikes from Argentina's Paula Santamarina (28th) and Brisa Bruggesser (48th).

Press Trust of India January 18, 2021 13:10:44 IST
Sharmila Devi, Deep Grace Ekka score in Indian women's hockey team's 2-2 draw with Argentina junior women

Sharmila Devi opened the scoring in the match. Image: @TheHockeyIndia

Buenos Aires: Sharmila Devi and Deep Grace Ekka scored a goal each as the Indian women's hockey team began its tour of Argentina with a 2-2 draw against the country's junior national team here.

In a well-contested match, goals from young Indian striker Sharmila (22nd) and the experienced Ekka (31st) were cancelled out by strikes from Argentina's Paula Santamarina (28th) and Brisa Bruggesser (48th).

Chief coach Sjoerd Marijne lauded the performance of the Indian team which was returning to international competition after a year following a COVID-19 -induced break.

"It was a typical first match after a long gap. Playing a competitive side after a year takes time to get into the rhythm and we played 23 athletes to give them all a feeling of playing in a match after a long gap," Marijne said in a release issued by Hockey India.

India got off the blocks with an intent to attack in the first quarter. The team won two back-to-back Penalty Corners (PC) in the 8th and 9th minute of play but they were well-defended by a strong Argentine defence.

Though Argentina too were awarded a PC in the 11th minute, it was swiftly saved by an alert India custodian Savita.

The second quarter saw India set-up a fine goal via Sharmila in the 22nd minute providing the team a much-awaited 1-0 lead.

However, Santamarina of Argentina scored in the 28th minute to equalise.

India reimposed a lead soon after the second quarter when Ekka converted a PC in the 31st minute. The visitors defended well to keep up the 2-1 lead all through the third quarter and carried a good rhythm into the final quarter.

The home team bounced back in the final quarter to equalise with a fine goal by Bruggesser in the 48th minute.

Though India tried to create one last haul before the final hooter, the home team's defence stood strong.

A PC awarded to India in the 53rd minute was saved well eventually ending the match with a 2-2 scoreline.

"We will need to build on our rhythm match-by-match. We will be thoroughly analyzing this match and the key will be to learn from the mistakes we made here and be ready for the next game," Sjoerd said.

India will take on the Argentina junior women on 20 January.

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