The Indian women’s hockey team suffered a heartbreaking loss against four-time winner Australia in the Commonwealth Games semifinal on Friday after the teams were level 1-1 following regulation.
India fell 0-3 in the shootout. Rebecca Greiner gave Australia the lead in the 10th minute, while India’s Vandana Katariya tied the score in the 49th.
The Indians, who have yet to let up a goal in the competition, defended hard to preserve their perfect record.
India attacked right away and had the opening opportunity in the eighth minute, but Australia just avoided defeat.
In the 10th minute, Greiner deflected Ambrosia Malone’s cross into the net due to a defensive blunder by India.
The next minute, Australia earned their first penalty corner, but Monika stopped the ball at the goal line.
India was awarded their second penalty corner two minutes later, but they squandered the chance.
Australia came out strong in the second quarter and immediately applied pressure on the Indian defense, but Savita Punia’s team managed to keep its organization.
The Australian goalkeeper Aleisha Power stopped Gurjit Kaur’s flick in the 21st minute as the Indians were determined not to go behind.
Power stopped Sangita Kumari’s reverse shot three minutes later from the top of the circle.
India won another penalty corner in the 24th minute, but the Australians defended well and led 1-0 at the break.
The second quarter saw a nail-biting battle between the two teams. In the 44th minute, Australia won five straight penalty corners. Still, India’s captain and goalie Savita and her defense made a heroic effort to prevent their opponents from extending their advantage.
Savita again saved India a minute into the fourth quarter by blocking Stephanie Kershaw’s attempt.
The Australian defense wilted for the first time in the competition in the 49th minute when Vandana Katariya skillfully deflected in Sushila Chanu’s defense-splitting free hit from outside the circle to tie the scores. However, the Indians did not lose heart and continued mounting raids on the Australian defense.
In the 51st minute, India earned another penalty corner, but Power again stopped Gurjit with a superb reaction save.
Australia earned two more penalty corners with one minute remaining. Still, Savita made a superb double save on the first attempt as the Indians played defense bravely to force a shootout.
However, India’s performance in the shootout was disappointing as Lalremsiami, Neha Goyal, and Navneet Kaur missed their first three opportunities. At the same time, Australia scored on all their opportunities to advance to the final against England’s hosts.
Malone originally missed her first shot for Australia, but the umpires let her a second opportunity since the clock didn’t start on time. The Indians, however, should consider themselves unfortunate for this circumstance. The Hockeyroos’ other shootout scorers were Amy Lawton and Kaitlin Nobbs.
After neither side was able to break the deadlock in the allotted 60 minutes in the other semifinal, England defeated New Zealand 2-0 in a shootout.
India will now play New Zealand on Sunday for the bronze medal.