mizo hockey
Photo: Northeast Now

A striker from Mizoram, just 18-year-old and the youngest in Team India, Lalremsiami, scored an opener for India and helped the country enter the quarterfinals of the women’s hockey World Cup with India winning a comprehensive 3-0 win over Italy at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London Tuesday night.

Lalremsiami (9?), Neha Goyal (45?) and Vandana Katariya (55?) were the goal-scorers for India in a rather one-sided cross-over tie.

India started slowly but it did not take long for them to start dictating play.

Navjot Kaur won the team’s first penalty corner in the ninth minute.

However, conversion continued to be a bane for the team as Gurjit Kaur’s flick was deflected out of play by the first rusher.

Italy were slow to take their positions and India took advantage by taking the consequent long corner quickly.

The ball found an unmarked Lalremsiami at the far corner and the teenager from Mizoram calmly beat the goalkeeper at the near post with a cheeky finish.

For Lalremsiami, who was trained locally at Kolasib in northern Mizoram the ultimate dream was to play in the World Cup.

On selecting for team India, Remsiami said it was a dream come true to have the chance to represent the nation.

She is the only girl from Northeast to represent India at this World Cup.

In a state where football dominate all other sports Lalremsiami has made herself known and stole the limelight in Mizoram sharing headlines with Jeje Lalpekhlua, S Malsawmtluanga and the likes.

“As a striker, expectations from the team are that I score a goal, that is what I’ll have to prove in the World Cup,” Lalremsiami said before leaving for the World Cup.

Last night’s game saw India dominating in all fronts.

It took the experience of skipper Rani Rampal for India to double their lead.

With seconds to go for the third-quarter break, the captain kept the pressure on the Italian defence and managed to earn a penalty corner right at the hooter.

The resulting drag-flick was taken by Reena Khokhar.

The shot deflected off an Italian defender and was trapped under the goalkeeper.

Neha latched on to the rebound from the melee and extended India’s advantage.

If that goal was scrappy, the third goal scored 10 minutes later was straight from the training ground.

India won back-to-back penalty corners in the 54th and 55th minutes.

India will now face Ireland in the quarterfinal on Thursday, hoping to book a semifinal berth for the first time since 1974.

Sangzuala Hmar

Sangzuala Hmar is Northeast Now Correspondent in Aizawl. He can be reached at: sz.hmar@gmail.com

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