Johannesburg, July 12: Indian Women’s Hockey team on Wednesday defeated Chile by 1-0 to swiftly enter into knock-out stage of the Women's Hockey World League Semi Final. However, Preeti Dubey’s 38th-minute goal ensured India earned their first win in the tournament after a goalless draw against South Africa and a 1-4 loss against USA in their previous matches.
Both teams traded Penalty Corner (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 a 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.
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 now take on Argentina in their final Pool B match on 16 July.