Johannesburg, 12 July 2017: A gritty Indian Women’s Hockey team scored a 1-0 win against Chile to make the knockout stage here at the Women’s Hockey World League Semi Final on Wednesday.
Preeti Dubey’s 38th minute goal ensured India earned their first win in the tournament after a goalless draw against South Africa and 1-4 loss against USA in their previous matches.
Both teams traded PC in the first quarter with Chile winning the first in the 4th minute of the match while India earned their first PC in the 12th minute but nothing came off the opportunity for both teams. Though it seemed like India had scored off the rebound when they earned another PC in the 12th minute through a successful video referral, the goal was denied as it came off the body and not the stick. Both teams went into the first break in a stalemate.
In the second quarter, Chile came up with high press but that didn’t stop India from creating opportunities to score. One such chance came in the 19th minute when Anupa Barla brilliantly stole the ball from a Chilean player, setting up a counter attack, to find Rani in the striking circle. Rani, however, missed the post by inches. The following minutes saw Indian defenders deny Chile from making forays into the striking circle.
After both teams went into the halftime goalless, India finally made a breakthrough when Rani and Preeti Dubey worked in tandem as they drove into the striking circle, Dubey giving it a finishing touch with a quick nick on the ball to put the ball past the Chilean keeper. The much-needed 1-0 lead came in the 38th minute. India mounted pressure on Chile, with the attackers creating chances. Though Rani made yet another shot on goal, the Chilean keeper did well to defend. Soon after, Renuka Yadav found herself on the bench with a yellow card forcing India to start the fourth quarter with 10 players.
Chile thus far had made zero attempts on goal despite 17 circle penetrations while India made 16 penetrations with 5 shots on goal. The final 15 minutes saw some tense moments with Chile making desperate attempts to break the Indian defence. Barla, meanwhile, did well to beat the first defender and then find a Chilean foot to win the team a PC in the 54th minute of the match. A different variation didn’t fetch anything though with India’s score remaining 1-0. Chile, on the other hand, won back-to-back PCs in the 55th minute but India did well to defend on both occasions and walk away with the winning points.
India will take on Argentina on July 16 at 21.30 hours IST. Matches will be shown live on Star Sports 1, HD1 as well as live streamed on Hotstar.com