India open campaign with 3-1 win over Russia

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Kazan, Russia, Apr 19 (UNI) Playing an all out attacking game, India opened their campaign with a facile win as they overpowered spirited Russia 3-1 in Women's Olympic Qualifier hockey tournament here today.

In a thrilling encounter, India led 1-0 at half time. For the winners, Rani Devi (8th), Jasjeet Kaur (50th) and Pritam Siwach (67th) scored. Irena Kuzima reduced the margin for the losers in the 37th minute.

As the match opened, India went close on numerous occasions in the early stages of the game, and took the lead just after eight minutes when Rani Devi tapped into an open goal following an incisive attack.

The first half saw India creating a plenty of chances but could not add to the score-line.

The hosts also had chances late in the first half, but they also failed to make use of them.

The Russians went in to the attack as the second half started and earned a penalty corner in the second minute and Irena Kuzima made no mistake in converting it.

This set the tone for this session as both teams were clearly not going to be content with a draw.

India played some outstanding hockey, but the equalizer gave Russia the confidence that they seemed to lack on the first period.

However, just as the game threatened to become a battle in the midfield, Jasjeet Kaur moved her team into a 2-1 lead with a well-taken deflection.

Russia were clearly stunned and India tried to take advantage of this by attacking the hosts' defence at every given opportunity.

A threatening India increased the margin as Pritam dribbled around the keeper before passing into the goal and sealed the victory for India giving them three points from the match.

Earlier, the US and Netherlands Antilles posted contrasting victories to earn full points.

The US waged a grim battle to overpower Belgium 3-2 while Netherlands Antilles defeated France 2-0.

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