Gold Coast (Australia), 12 April 2018: The Indian Women’s Hockey Team could not qualify for the Final match of the Gold Coast 2018 XXI Commonwealth Games as they were defeated 0-1 by a resolute Australian team in their Semi-final match here at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre.
India started the first quarter on a positive note as they created a goal scoring opportunity through some precise passing in the 2nd minute which saw Vandana Katariya make a darting run on the left flank and passing to skipper Rani, whose shot was saved by Australian Goalkeeper Rachael Lynch. However, Australia settled into the rhythm of the match in the next few minutes as Grace Stewart forced Indian Goalkeeper Savita to make a reflex save on her right. The following minutes saw Australia win two consecutive Penalty Corners, but the Indian defence was resolute to deny the hosts.
The second quarter was a more balanced one as both the teams failed to make the most of possession. The World No. 5 team tried to attack the Indians in the 16thminute but Jane Claxton’s shot went wide. Australia were dominating possession but India’s defensive unit made sure that they kept their structure and denied the hosts any goal scoring opportunities. India, on the other hand, could not create a real impact on the match as they struggled to deal with Australia’s high defensive line. A neck-and-neck second quarter meant that the teams went into the half-time break goal-less.
Early in the third quarter, Australia were awarded a Penalty Corner but the resulting drag-flick was hit too high by Edwina Bone. The hosts showed their attacking quality in the initial few minutes after the restart as Emily Hurtz also made a great forward run on the left baseline but her pass inside was well defended by India’s Lilima Minz who kept her cool and pushed the ball away from danger. In the 37th minute, Australia’s constant pressure was rewarded when Savannah Fitzpatrick’s pass from the right flank outside the circle was hit first-time by Grace Stewart into the back of the net. It proved to be a crucial goal in the match as the Defending Gold Medallists took a crucial lead as India were dealt a huge blow. The World No. 10 team could not relieve the pressure as they could not stitch together a string of passes.
However, the Indian team came out attacking in the fourth quarter as they looked to get the equalizer and keep their hopes of qualifying for the Final match. In the 47thminute, India earned themselves a Penalty Corner as the ball hit an Australian foot inside their circle, but the resulting PC was unsuccessful which saw the Australian defence block the shot. Two more PCs in the next minute were unsuccessful as Gurjit Kaur’s drag-flicks were well defended by the first rusher. India had a few chances in the last ten minutes as Monika, Navneet Kaur and Rani, all had chances to score, but their efforts were kept out by the Australian Goalkeeper Lynch. A strong defence in the closing minutes of the match meant that India could not find an equalizer as Australia secured a passage to the Final match.
The Indian Women’s Hockey team will play their Bronze Medal match against England on 14 April, 2018 at 0600hrs IST.
Matches will be shown live on Sony SIX, Sony SIX HD, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Ten 3 HD while the live streaming will be available on SonyLIV.com