Johannesburg, July 12 (IANS) Ace forward Preeti Dubey’s brilliant goal in the 38th minute helped the Indian women’s hockey team register a 1-0 win against Chile to advance to the quarter-finals of the Hockey World League Semi Final here on Wednesday.
Preeti’s goal ensured India earned their first win in the tournament after a goalless draw against South Africa and a 1-4 loss to the US in their previous matches.
Both teams traded penalty corners in the first quarter with Chile winning the first in the 4th minute of the match while India earned their first penalty corner 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 penalty corner 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 tightened their grip but that didn’t stop India from creating scoring opportunities. 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 the Indian defenders stop Chile from making forays into the striking circle as both the sides went in to the break goalless.
India finally got a breakthrough in the 38th minute when Rani and Preeti drove into the striking circle, before the latter gave it a finishing touch with a quick nick on the ball to put the ball past the Chilean keeper.
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.
The final 15 minutes saw some tense moments with Chile making desperate attempts to break the Indian defence. Barla, meanwhile, did well to beat the first defender and then find a Chilean foot to win the team a penalty corner 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 penalty corners in the 55th minute but India did well to defend on both occasions and walk away with the winning points.