Savita's heroics power India to first win in Women's Hockey WC

Savita Punia's stellar show in goal gave India their first win of the 2022 FIH Hockey Women's World Cup. Hockey India

Savita Punia starred in front of goal as India defeated Canada 3-2 in a shootout after both teams were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation time in their classification match of the FIH Women's Hockey World Cup on Tuesday.

Madeline Secco handed Canada the lead in the 11th minute before Salima Tete equalised in the 58th minute for India.

Savita's heroics gave India their first win of the tournament as the India captain pulled off as many as six saves in the shootout, while Navneet Kaur, Sonika and Neha converted their chances in the 9th-16th place classification match.

After soaking up the initial pressure from the Indians, Canada scored early on but the goal was disallowed as the referee awarded a penalty corner and Natalie Sourisseau's attempt was off target.

Canada went one better a few minutes later as they won another penalty corner. The Indian defence was unable to read Canada's penalty corner variation as Secco converted Kathleen Leahy's pass for the opening goal.

India came out stronger in the second quarter and beat the Canadian defence numerous times. Monika, in particular, used her array of 3D skills to get outsmart the defence, but there was no goal to show. Navneet Kaur, Neha and Vandana Katariya moved with aplomb as Canada looked on the back foot. Navneet and Vandana combined to create a fine chance in the 25th minute but the shot was kept out by Canada goalkeeper Rowan Harris as India continued to trail at half-time.

Lalremsiami made a few speedy forays into the Canada circle upon the restart. Still, Canada held firm, with Sara McManus and Hannah Haughn putting up a strong show at the backline to break down India's attacks.

India had a glorious opportunity to level the score just minutes into the third quarter but Navjot Kaur's shot from inside the circle went over the bar. Minutes later, Savita was called to the action as she made a brilliant save from a penalty corner.

As has been the case in the tournament so far, India struggled to convert their penalty corners. They earned back-to-back penalty corners in the dying minutes of the third quarter but failed to capitalise on the chances.

In the final minute of the third quarter, Lalremsiami's diving attempt off Salima Tete's pass from the right flank missed the target by a whisker.

The Canadian defence was made to toil as India mounted repeated attacks in the final quarter in search of an equaliser. India's persistence finally paid off when Salima punched home a rebound after Gurjit's flick from a penalty corner was saved by the Candian goalkeeper. Karli Johansen had one more chance to regain the lead for Canada but her penalty corner shot went wide and the game went to a shoot-out.

India will play Japan in the 9th-12th place play-off match on Wednesday.