The Indian women’s hockey team showed tremendous fighting spirit as it came back from a two-goal deficit to hold Japan 2-2 in its opening pool encounter of the Olympics here on Sunday.
For Japan, Nishikhori Emi (15th minute) opened the scoring and then Mie Nakashima (28th minute) stretched the lead, while for India, Rani Rampal (31st minute) and Lilima Minz (40th minute) were the goal-scorers.
Both teams started off on a attacking note but it was Japan though who were dominant throughout the early exchanges and as a result Japan’s Nishikhori Emi fired first goal in the closing minutes of the first quarter to take a 1-0.
The same story was repeated in the second half as Japan’s Mie Nakashima scored with a reverse hit in the dying minutes to extend their lead at the Olympic hockey centre.
The game went into half time with Japan leading 2-0. India came out of half time stronger, and immediately tasted the success as Rani founded the Japanese net in the 30th minute of the game.
The goal allowed India to drift into their natural counter-attacking game in the second half and it was immediately effective.
Lilima scored in the 40th minute to equalise the score. The first shot was blocked by Japanese goalkeeper, but India capitalised on the rebound with captain P. Sushila Chanu playing the ball uppishly for Lilima to slot home.
With the seconds ticking down, India sharpened the attack but failed to break through the Japanese defence and settled for a draw.