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India's Paris dreams crumble: USA upset adds to agony

Source: PTI
January 13, 2024 21:58 IST
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Photograph: Kind Courtesy Hockey India/X

A profligate Indian team squandered chances galore to lose 0-1 to lower-ranked United States of America in its opening match of the FIH Women's Olympic Qualifier in Ranchi on Saturday.

Ranked sixth in the world, India dominated the possession and created numerous scoring chances, including as many as seven penalty corners, but failed to breach the American defence.

USA, ranked 24th in the world rankings, scored the solitary goal of the match through Abigail Tamer in the 16th minute of the Pool B match.

The defeat would make India's road to Paris tougher as it will be up against stronger teams in next matches.


There was hardly anything to separate the two sides in the first quarter which witnessed a keenly-contested battle. Both teams managed a few circle penetration but goals eluded the two sides.

The Indians, however, were guilty of not using both the flanks unlike USA who build their attacks from both corners.

India's woes from penalty corners remained unchanged as they wasted as many as six set pieces.

The Americans sounded the board in the 11th minute through skipper Amanda Golini but the goal was disallowed for obstruction, much to the relief of the packed stadium.

Minutes from the first quarter, the Indians got a great chance to take the lead when Udita combined well with Neha to create the opportunity but the former's effort was saved by American goalie Kelsey Bing.

The Indians, however, got a rude shock just after restart as USA took the lead a minute into the second quarter through Tamer, who was also assisted by some poor defending by the home team inside their D.

India's persistent pressure resulted in three penalty corners in quick succession but the Americans defended stoutly.

Minutes from half-time, India created two more chances.

First Ishika Chaudhary's tomahawk from a tight angle went inches wide of the American goal and then Navneet Kaur's reverse hit from inside the circle was brilliantly saved by an alert Bing in front of the bar.

The Indians didn't learn their lesson after the change of ends as they continued to build their attacks through the middle but the Americans crowd that area to deny their opponents any chance.

The India held on to the ball too much without releasing it instantly, a strategy that cost them dearly.

Whenever the Indians managed to get inside the American circle, they lacked ideas.

India secured another penalty corner 37 seconds from the third quarter but wasted the chance.

The hosts got another chance after Monika asked for referral. The decision was bang on as India secured a penalty corner, which resulted in another but their poor conversion rate continued as Navneet's efforts were easily kept away by USA goalie Bing.

To make matters worse for India, Vaishnavi Vitthal Phalke was shown the yellow card -- five minute suspension -- for a rough tackle on an American player in the early stages of the fourth quarter.

Trailing by a goal, the Indians attacked in numbers and secured their seventh penalty corner in the 48th minute. Navneet this time found the net but the goal was disallowed as the ball went in after ricochetting off Jyoti's feet.

USA secured three consecutive penalty corners seven minutes from the hooter but wasted all.

Tamer's goal eventually turned out to be winner.

India will next play New Zealand on Sunday, while USA will be up against Italy.

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