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Rediff.com  » Sports » PIX: India women beat New Zealand for CWG hockey bronze

PIX: India women beat New Zealand for CWG hockey bronze

Source: PTI
Last updated on: August 07, 2022 16:29 IST
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Savita Punia

IMAGE: India's players celebrate with skipper-goalkeeper Savita Punia after beating New Zealand in the bronze medal play-off at the Commonwealth Games, in Birmingham, on Sunday. Photograph: Mark Kolbe/Getty Image

Skipper Savita Punia led from the front with a spectacular display as India’s women's hockey team overcame the stopwatch controversy in the semi-finals to beat New Zealand 2-1 in shoot-out and win the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games, in Birmingham, on Sunday.

This is India’s first women’s hockey medal at the Games in 16 years.

 

Leading 1-0 through Salima Tete goal in the 29th minute, India conceded a penalty-corner with less than 30 seconds to go for the final hooter and Olivia Merry scored from it to take the match into shoot-out.

Coming off their heart-breaking defeat to Australia in a controversial semi-final, in which they were done in by a horrendous timing faux pas in the shoot-out, India showed the intent to wrap up their campaign with a podium finish.

In Sunday’s shoot-out, captain and goalkeeper Savita showed her class, pulling off three spectacular saves to give India its third CWG medal.

After Megan Hull put New Zealand ahead, an agile Savita denied Rose Tynan, Katie Doar and Olivia Shanon, while Sonika and Navneet scored for India.

Salima Tete celebrates with teammates after putting India ahead

IMAGE: Salima Tete celebrates with teammates after putting India ahead. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

The Indians came out attacking and made plenty of circle penetrations but failed to break the solid New Zealand defence.

India gained momentum as the match progressed and built their attacks using both the flanks. But it was New Zealand who came close to taking the lead in the first quarter in the form of a penalty-corner, which was well-defended by the Indians.

Minutes later Sangita Kumari's shot on target was blocked by the Kiwi defence. Seconds later Salima's shot zoomed across the right of the New Zealand goal.

The Indians continued in the same vein in the second quarter and had the better share of ball possession, but failed to break the resolute New Zealand defence.

In the 26th minute, New Zealand came tantalisingly close to taking the lead from a counter attack before India finally broke through the New Zealand defence a minute from half-time through Salima, who scored off a rebound with a reverse hit after Navneet Kaur's initial shot was saved by the opposition goalie.

India's goalkeeper Savita Punia saves a shot from Olivia Shannon.

IMAGE: India's goalkeeper Savita Punia thwarts Olivia Shannon in the shoot-out. Photograph: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

India kept up the pressure after the change of ends, and in the 35th minute secured their first variation, but the chance was wasted.

Minutes later, excellent work by Navneet and Neha Goyal set it up for Sonika, who just had to get her stick on the ball, but failed.

Merry seemed to have equalised for New Zealand in the 43rd minute against the run of play, but the goal was disallowed after India went for the referral, claiming that the free-hit wasn't taken from the 5 metres line.

The Indians lived dangerously in the final quarter. They got three penalty-corners in succession in the 52nd minute but Gurjit Kaur failed to get past New Zealand custodian Grace O'Hanlon.

The Indians lived dangerously at the fag-end of the match and with two-and-half minutes remaining, Lalremisiami got an unnecessary yellow card, reducing the side to 10 players.

The Kiwis took advantage of that and secured a penalty-corner with seconds from the hooter, which resulted in a penalty stroke, as Navneet deliberately kicked the goal-bound ball.

Merry stepped up and foxed Savita to draw level and take the match into the shoot-out. 

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