Riding on Rani’s goal and Savita’s goalkeeping India registered a narrow yet important win over higher ranked team Japan to claim the 5th position in the FINTRO World Hockey League Semi-Final 2015 (Women).
Thanks to Rani Rampal’s superb goal in the 13th minute and inform Goalie Savita Punia helped them not only register the win but even keep themselves in contention for the RIO Olympics 2016. After the winners of continental cups namely, European, Oceania and Pan-American are known, it could be confirmed if India will qualify for Olympics or not. Going by the records and expected winners of continental cups, it is highly likely that India women are going to Rio Olympics after fifth place at Antwerp.
The first quarter began with Indian forwards leading the attack from the centre. This led them to win a penalty corner within the first 30 seconds but failed to score. Japan led by their skipper, Miyuki Nakagawa and their star forward Akiko Kato tried to break into the India’s D but were blocked by Indian’s superb defense line. Luck favored India, when Vandana with a superb burst of speed, broke into the opponent’s D from the left flank taking a shot at the goal and which on rebound was slammed in by Rani Rampal in the 13th minute, giving India the much required lead in the game. The first quarter ended in India’s favor 1-0 as there were no further goals added to the scorecard.
The second quarter saw Indian eves constantly breaking into the Japanese D to increase their lead. Japan won their first penalty corner in the 20th minute but their forward, Miyuki Kato failed to equalize their score as the Indian defence proved to be the barrier yet again. India with strategic game play, good patience and superb defense were successful in keeping their lead over Japan by the end of first half.
The third quarter saw Japan attacking ferociously to open their account in the match. Japan won their third penalty corner in the 37th minute. Miyuki Kato and Yamamoto Yukari tried to level the score but were defended superbly by Monika. Keeping their lead intact at the end of third quarter, India continued its dominance with 1-0 on the scoreboard.
In the fourth quarter, Japan pushed forward trying constantly to create numerous opportunities to equalize the score line but the Indian defence stood tall as they ensured that the Japanese team had no chance to find the nets. Indian goalkeeper Savita displayed superb agility as she deflected all the shot on goals by the Japanese forwards which proved to be the biggest strength for the team. With superb stick work and excellent on field coordination, Indian eves won the match against Japan by 1-0.