Indian women have done it once again! The Indian women’s hockey team secured their place in the final round of the 2020 Olympics, sealing their fate with a goal (2-1) at the last minute of the game against hosts Japan, held at the Hiroshima Hockey Stadium.
“It was incredible to remain unbeaten throughout the Olympic Test Event. The hard work put in by all the players in the various training camps ahead of the tournament paid dividends. A victory in this tournament gives us a lot of confidence ahead of the Tour of England and the FIH Olympic Qualifiers,” said Captain and Striker Rani, on their terrific win.
It was a great first quarter for both the teams in the attacking department as they both scored a goal each. It was India who dominated the first 10 minutes and finally managed to find the breakthrough in the 11th minute when a brilliant team-move saw Navjot Kaur take the lead for India. The Forward kept her nerve under pressure and produced a fine finish in front of the goal to make it a great start for the World No. 10 team. However, the next minute saw Japan strike back immediately with a well-crafted field goal which was put into the back of the net by Minami Shimizu to make it 1-1.
The second quarter saw both the teams focus on their defensive structure, and tread carefully in the attacking third. India had a few chances in the first few minutes, with the likes of Vandana Katariya and Navjot Kaur combining well on the attacking front, but could not produce a goal-scoring opportunity. Whereas Japan also tried to create some opportunities of their own, with goalscorer Shimizu coming close to scoring her second of the match, but India defended well to make sure that the teams went into the half-time break level at 1-1.
it was a great first quarter for both the teams in the attacking department as they both scored a goal each. It was India who dominated the first 10 minutes and finally managed to find the breakthrough in the 11th minute when a brilliant team-move saw Navjot Kaur take the lead for India.
It was an aggressive start from the Indian team after the half-time break as they won themselves a Penalty Corner in the 33rd minute.
The third quarter saw India dominate the initial few minutes earning another penalty corner in the 35th minute. A moment of magic from Gurjit saw India regain their one goal advantage as the 23-year-old smashed the ball into the back of the net. In the fourth quarter, however, India overturned the nail-biting match and registered their victory as Lalremsiami hit her goal.
The Indian women’s team started the match well, with an aggressive intent, and had a few opportunities in the opening 10 minutes.
Describing the score of Lairemsiami, Hockey India writes, “India’s prolific drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur stepped up to take the execution, but her shot was saved by the Japanese Goalkeeper Megumi Kageyama, but the rebound fell to India’s young Forward Lalremsiami, who did not make a mistake in putting the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-1 to India.”
It was a huge blow to the hosts who were finding it difficult to cope up with India’s rhythm, but after some tough battles in the midfield, the Japanese team earned themselves back-to-back Penalty Corners in the 42nd minute. However, India’s defense was up to the task and made sure that they protected their lead. India also had a Penalty Corner in the 45th minute, but could not extend their lead.
“We still have to improve in certain areas, but the team is confident of booking a place in the Tokyo Olympics. Our preparations have been excellent so far and we have to just keep building on our game. The Olympic Test Event was very helpful to understand the level of our game as we played against some strong teams including World No. 2 Australia. Our only aim is to qualify for the Olympics and I feel we are on the right track,” said the hopeful Captain.
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