Jun 21, 2011

Champions Challenge I: India beat Azerbaijan 6-1

Hat-trick hero Saba Anjum
Saba Anjum's hat-trick and goals from Deepika Thakur, Rani Rampal and Jasjeet Kaur Handa helped Indian team defeat Azerbaijan by the margin of 5 goals in the last pool game of Champions Challenge I. Win in this game helped the team to register its first victory in the tournament. The team had lost its first game to Ireland and dran the second game against Spain.

Indian team was on the attack from the very first minute and this attacking approach helped and India on its first penalty corner in the third minute. Indian captain Saba Anjum converted the penalty corner and gave Indian team the lead. She scored another goal through penalty corner in the 7th minute to give Indian team 2-0 lead in the match. Indian forward Deepika Thakur then joined the party with the goal in 10th minute of the game.

Indian team dominated the game and it was all one way traffic with Indian team attacking Azerbaijan goal. Teenage sensation Rani Rampal scored the next goal for Indian team in the 18th minute before Indian captain Saba Anjum completed her hat-trick with another goal from penalty corner.

Second half was much more balanced where both the teams got chances to score goals. In 47th minute Azerbaijan's Khatira Alyieva pulled one back through penalty corner and after that Jasjeet Kaur Handa scored a goal in 52nd to make the score 6-1 for Indian team.

This win helped Indian team to secure second position in Pool B. Indian team will face Japan in the crossovers after Japan finished third in the Pool A. India will have to beat Japan to reach the semi finals of Champions Challenge I. The crossover line up for the Champions Challenge is as follows:

South Africa V Spain
India V Japan
Scotland V Azerbaijan
Ireland V USA

(Score source: Times of India)

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