India finish eighth in Women’s Hockey World League Semi Final

 JOHANNESBURG:  The Indian women’s hockey team conceded one-goal lead to go down 1-2 to Ireland and finish eighth in Women’s Hockey World League Semi Final here today.

     Despite maintaining an upper hand throughout the match, India let the opponents score two goals in the final quarter.

     India started the first quarter rather slowly compared to Ireland, but shifted the gears 10 minutes into the game.

     It was perhaps Ireland winning the first penalty corner of the match that came as a wake-up call for India in the 10th minute. Monika though was brilliant at the goal-line to defend the dragflick with her stick.

     In the 15th minute, India won a penalty corner which was successfully converted by Gurjit Kaur, who came up with a well-executed flick firing the ball low to the left giving India a 1-0 lead.

     There was plenty of entertainment in the second quarter with India dominating with improvised circle penetrations.

     During one such circle entry in the 24th minute, Navjot Kaur was obstructed by Ireland goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran which resulted in her being sent away with a yellow card for 10 minutes.

     India were awarded a penalty stroke but nothing came off the opportunity with Ireland’s stand-by goalkeeper Grace O’Flanagan making a great save.

     India lost another opportunity to double their lead when a goal was disallowed as it came off the back stick of Indian striker Rani in the 28th minute.

     Coming into the match after a 10-minute halftime break, India won back-to-back PCs in the 31st minute but unfortunately, they couldn’t convert the chance. India won two more PCs in the 43rd minute but striker Rani’s flick was blocked away by Ireland goalkeeper O’Flanagan.

     Although Ireland attackers made brave forays into the circle and attempted shots on goal, goalkeeper Savita was on top of the job to keep the ball out.

     Less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, Ireland levelled the score with a clinical variation in their PC attempt that saw Kathryn Mullan finding a perfect deflection to put it past Savita in the 47th minute.

     Ireland further pumped another goal through a PC converted by Lizzie Colvin in the 48th minute to take a 2-1 lead over India.

     Though India made desperate amends to equal the score, Ireland defence stood strong to win the match. (AGENCIES)


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