LONDON, May 21 (Xinhua) — The Chinese women’s hockey team beat world number four England 4-3 in a shoot-out here on Saturday, claiming their first victory at this season’s FIH Pro League.
The Chinese team trailed 1-0 until the last second in regular time but fought hard to draw 1-1 after Gu Bingfeng scored the crucial penalty corner.
During the shoot-out, Chinese goalkeeper Liu Ping made two sensational saves to help the team edge the hosts 4-3.
“We performed very well,” said Alyson Annan, the newly-appointed head coach of the Chinese team. “We deserved the three points as we have been fighting till the end. We tied the game 1-1 and did really well in the shoot-out.”
The 48-year-old Annan has only been with the Chinese team for eight days. After losing two matches to world number two Argentina in Spain earlier this week, the former coach of the Netherlands led the Chinese team to their first win in the Pro League this season.
“I think this team has so much potential,” said the 2000 Olympic champion from Australia. “They are going be a really good team. They work hard. They fight hard. Their technical skills are incredible next to the best teams in the world. I think we can do a lot.”
Annan led the Netherlands women’s team to a silver medal at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 and a gold at the Tokyo Olympics last year.
Being asked why she decided to coach the Chinese team, Annan said, “China is a team with a lot of potential. I have coached a team [the Netherlands] for the last five years to the best. And now I’m coaching a team [China] could be the best and that’s a great challenge.”
The Chinese women’s hockey achieved their best result at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games by winning the silver medal. They missed the quarterfinals at the Tokyo Games last year due to a disadvantage in goal difference.
“We still need to learn a lot from the top teams. That’s why we should keep competing in this league. It can help us improve,” said Guo Hong, team leader of China. “We hope the two-month Pro League experience could gift us a better performance in the World Cup in July.”
China will meet England again on Sunday before playing against Spain, Belgium, the United States, the Netherlands and Germany in the coming weeks.