Indian eves inch closer to realizing Olympic dream

Nishad Vellur/

New Delhi: Indian women held their nerves until the 55th minute to stay in the hunt for the Olympic qualification, a dream they were chasing since 1980. Ritu Rani finally broke the deadlock by slamming it in via a reverse flick.

Poor coordination, lack of intent and missed chances by the Indians in the first half at once threatened to cost them a place in Saturday’s final of the FIH Olympic qualifier but came back in the second half with a concerted effort.

Even though, the hosts held majority of the possession, Indians just couldn’t get past the Italian defense until the 55th minute. Throughout the first half, the Italian women pressed on a defensive strategy to deny India any scoring chances. And when they got past the Italian defense they withered. The Indian eves wasted as many as four penalty corners in the first half.

Meanwhile, Indian women team coach CR Kumar said that the team was looking for a win and is happy to achieve that. “We made many penetrations in the first half but couldn’t score goals. We tried for goals but got limited space in the circle. In fact the Italians were not looking for a win but to draw the match. We played for a win and we achieved that. I am happy for that,” he said after the match.

India will face mighty South Africa, against whom they had lost in the pool encounter earlier, in the final on Saturday.

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