What a moment it is for the Indian Hockey fans as for the first time in the history of field hockey the Women’s Indian Team has qualified for the Olympic Semifinals!!! With the Indian men’s team ending the qualification drought after 49 years, yesterday evening it was the Women’s Team that came to the party today. They defeated the mighty Aussies 1-0. Here’s coverage of how this panned out: –
First Quarter: –
The game began with the Aussies getting a great scoring opportunity (2nd) with Ambrosia Malone hitting the metalwork. The Indian backline cleared the ball off the rebound to avoid danger! Just 2 mins later Australian Keeper was put to test as India initiated a counter. The 9th minute saw India hit the post. The shot was off Rani Rampal’s stick and she was assisted by Vandana Katariya. This quarter saw Indian defense solid as ever as the Kangaroos couldn’t bring about a successful attack.
Second Quarter: –
The 17th minute of the game witnessed Navjot Kaur commit a foul and give away possession during an Indian counter. India also conceded a Penalty Corner just after this but it didn’t turn out fruitful for the women in yellow. The 22nd minute turned the game on its head. India won a penalty and was smooth as a glider Gurjit Kaur slammed a drag flick in the back of the Aussie net. 1-0 India!! Monika Malik conceded the first card for the Indians in the 25th minute and Aussies making use of the numerical advantage made an attack. Nevertheless, Emily Chalkers’ shot went off target!!
Third Quarter: –
Sharmila Devi, India’s prime attacker who left the field due to a collision in the first half was back on in the third quarter. The 34th minute saw India concede another silly Penalty Corner as Sushila Chanu played the ball despite the ref’s whistle. The Yellow’s tried a variation this time and made a complete mess. This series then led to another penalty corner and it was the Indian keeper Savita who saved the team this time. The 40th minute saw Brooke Peris sprint forward with the ball from the left flank, making another failed attempt on goal!
Fourth Quarter: –
The final 15 minutes towards creating history had begun with the Australians moving forward in full throttle. Attack and attack and attack this was their go-to Mantra! But the Indian defense held their position, stronger than ever. On the 52nd minute, the yellows won two more penalty corners, which they made a complete mess of. India was down by a man again when Nikki Pradhan was green carded in the 54th minute. It was a referring error. The 58th minute again saw Aussies winning a Penalty Corner. But as it happened in the entire game, India defended this well too. When the final hooter went out it was cheering for India and Agony for Aussies!
Next up India qualifies for the Semis, they are up against the Argentine Girls next. Let’s hope they at least bring a medal home this time around!!