Women's FIH Pro League: China hand Australia 3-0 defeat on return to action after five months

February 5, 2024
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Australia women made a disappointing return to international fold after a five-month break,

Bhubaneswar, Feb 4 (IANS) Former Olympic champions Australia women made a disappointing return to international fold after a five-month break, the Hockeyroos going down to China 3-0 on the second day of the Women’s FIH Hockey Pro League Season 2023-24 at the Kalinga Stadium here on Sunday.

China, who had defeated hosts India in their first match on Saturday, had a short turnaround between matches and had to absorb some early pressure before going on to beat Australia.

Yuan Meng scored a brace of goals while striking the third in the second half of the match as China won their second match in succession in the event in Bhubaneswar.

The first quarter was played at a low tempo with the Hockeyroos doing more attacking and Hangzhou Asian Games gold medallists China trying to catch them on the break. The Chinese clicked up a gear in the second quarter and earned a couple of penalty corners, but Jocelyn Bartram was solid in goal for Australia and there was still no score at half-time.

China broke the deadlock in the third quarter, however, with Yuan Meng beating the keeper from an acute angle off a loose ball. Yu Anhui then made it 2-0, throwing the defence out of shape with a good turn in the D and striking accurately. The Australians tried to fight their way back but looked uncharacteristically inaccurate and sluggish, and it was China’s Meng who had the final word in the fourth quarter, escaping all markers at the top of the circle and slamming in her second goal unchallenged.

The Hockeyroos are likely to improve as they get going again after five months away from international hockey, but China executed their plans far better on the day and were well-deserved winners.

–IANS

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