Commonwealth Games 2022 women’s hockey semi-finals: India lose to Australia in shoot-out

The Indian women’s hockey team will take on the last edition’s champions New Zealand in the bronze medal play-off on Sunday.

By Ali Asgar Nalwala
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

The Indian women’s hockey team went down 3-0 to four-time champions Australia in a shoot-out after finishing the semi-final 1-1 in regulation time at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham, UK, on Friday.

Ambrosia Malone, Kaitlin Nobbs and Amy Lawton scored the goals for Australia in the shoot-out while Lalremsiami, Neha and Navneet Kaur missed India’s chances at the University of Birmingham Hockey & Squash Centre.

India, the 2002 Commonwealth Games champions, will now play last edition’s winners New Zealand in the bronze medal play-off on Sunday.

Australia’s Rebecca Greiner (11’) opened the scoring in the regulation time while Vandana Katariya (49’) brought the Indians back into the contest in the fourth quarter.

The Indian women’s hockey team, ranked ninth, pressed forward from the start looking to put world No. 3 Australia under pressure. India forward Navneet Kaur earned a penalty corner for a stick-check in the eighth minute but could not get the drag-flick past the Australian goalkeeper Aleisha Power.

The Indian hockey team then lost the ball easily in the midfield one too many times as Australian forwards Mariah Williams and Rebecca Greiner teamed up to open their team’s account in the 11th minute.

Australia ramped up their attack but the Indian backline, led by goalkeeper Savita Punia, kept the Aussie attack at bay.

Young Indian forwards Lalremsiami and Sangeeta Kumari, along with experienced campaigners Navneet Kaur and Vandana Katariya, exploited the slower Australian backline for the second penalty corner but India could not hit the board.

India earned two penalty corners in the second quarter but Australia’s lead remained intact at half-time. However, Australia, who had conceded just four penalty corners in their group stage, had to brace four penalty corners against India in the first half.

India kept their foot on the gas in the third quarter even as Australia counter-attacked. India’s persistence finally paid off in the 49th minute when Vandana Katariya deflected the ball over the top of the Australian goalkeeper. It was the first goal conceded by Australia at CWG 2022.

With their tails up, India bossed the next few minutes of the final quarter but Australia relied on the counter-attacks.

With a minute to play, Australia earned their 11th penalty corner of the match but India had it covered and stretched the game in the shoot-out.

In the shootout, Indian goalkeeper Savita Punia saved the first Australian attempt by Ambrosia Malone but with the clock not set, India conceded in the second attempt.

Australia capitalised on the momentum to hit the next three into the Indian goal while India’s shots in the shoot-out were saved by Aussie goalkeeper Jocelyn Bartram, who had swapped in.

At the last edition, India had lost 1-0 to Australia in the semi-finals and were drubbed 6-0 against England in the bronze medal match. Apart from the gold in 2002, the Indian women’s hockey team also has a silver from the 2006 edition.

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