In a nail-biting encounter, the Indian women's hockey team demonstrated resilience by scoring a last-minute goal to draw 2-2 against Germany in the semifinals of the women's FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers. Despite their impressive fightback, India faltered in the sudden death shoot-out, losing 4-3. This heartbreaking defeat sets the stage for India to face Japan in the third-place match on Friday, with the opportunity to secure a spot in the Paris Olympics.
Savita, India's goalkeeper, showcased skillful saves during the shoot-out, initially providing India with a lead. The seesaw battle unfolded as both teams exchanged successful attempts. Lalremsiami's final conversion leveled the score 3-3, leading to a sudden-death scenario. Unfortunately, Sangita Kumari's miss and Lisa Nolte's subsequent conversion handed Germany the victory.
The regulation time witnessed a gripping contest, with India initially falling behind after Charlotte Stapenhorst secured a 2-1 lead for Germany in the 57th minute. However, Ishita Chaudhary's dramatic goal off a penalty corner with seconds remaining salvaged a 2-2 draw. Despite this commendable fightback, it was not enough for India to clinch the win.
India had taken an early lead in the first quarter through Deepika's spectacular penalty corner conversion. Germany responded with an equalizer from Stapenhorst in the 27th minute. The intense battle continued in the following quarters, with both teams vying for a decisive goal.
Although India displayed moments of attacking prowess, Germany's defense stood firm. The third quarter saw Germany dominating, launching strong attacks, but the Indian defense, led by captain Savita, held its ground.
As the match entered the fourth quarter, both teams had opportunities, but India's attempts to secure a penalty corner were thwarted by resilient German defending. The game took a dramatic turn when a foul by a German defender inside the circle awarded India a crucial penalty corner. Despite initial challenges, Ishika Chaudhary's timely goal leveled the score at 2-2, leading to the tense shoot-out.
While the result may not have favored India in the shoot-out, their spirited performance has set the stage for a crucial clash with Japan for the Olympic berth in the third-place match.
(With Agency Inputs)