Olympics: Navneet's late goal helps India beat Ireland 1-0, stay on track for QF berth in women's hockey
New Delhi, July 30, 2021
A fine opportunistic goal by Navneet Kaur three minutes before the final hooter kept India's hopes of a quarter-final berth alive as they beat Ireland 1-0 in the women's hockey competition in the Tokyo Olympics at Oi Stadium in the Japanese capital on Friday.
Indian women dominated the game team throughout and forced 14 penalty corners but had to wait till the 57th minute for the elusive goal to stay in contention.
Ireland started aggressively, creating an opening early on in the first quarter. However, the Indian defence foiled that attempt.
Soon after, the Indians made a circle penetration, but Navneet Kaur couldn't find the back of the net after getting close to the goal.
They kept pressure on the Irish goal and earned a penalty corner in the 9th minute, but Gurjt Kaur couldn't find the back of the net.
Soon after, Navneet Kaur went through two Irish players and took a shot at the goal, but the rival defence warded off that attack.
India earned a number of penalty corners in the last five minutes of the first quarter but couldn't convert any of them. The Irish made a circle penetration late in the first quarter, but could not breach the defence.
Ireland opened the second quarter with a penalty corner which they muffed. In retaliation, India made a circle penetration, but failed to earn the breakthrough.
In the 7th minute of the second quarter, Lalremsiami had a great chance to score after receiving a pass in the circle, but the Irish goalkeeper made a sliding save.
Ireland countered from the right, but there was no one there who could convert the opportunity into a goal.
India took a shot in the final minutes of the first half, but the Ireland goalkeeper brought off a superb save
In the 14th minute of the second quarter, India earned five back-to-back penalty corners but they could not find a way to convert any of them into a goal.
The Rani Rampaul-led side played aggressively in the third quarter and earned a penalty corner right away. Rani took a shot, but the Irish defence once again foiled that attempt .
In the 5th minute, Lalremsiami made an excellent pass to Navneet in the circle, but the latter couldn't convert the pass into a goal.
Moments later, Sharmila Devi made a brilliant run on the left flank and took a reverse flick shot, but it was saved by the goalkeeper.
India earned a penalty corner in the 10th minute of the third quarter, but couldn't convert their opportunity once again.
Ireland also had a chance to score late in the third quarter, but the Indians kept the Irish at bay.
India continued to put pressure but couldn't find a way to break the deadlock. Soon, Ireland made a circle penetration, but the effort was brilliantly foiled by the defence.
Thereafter, the Indians counterattacked immediately and created two chances, but could not beat the rival defence.
India continued to put pressure on the Irish goal. However, they couldn't find a way to convert any of their goal-scoring opportunities.
With just a little over three minutes left on the clock, Rani, from the right, delivered a brilliant pass to Navneet, who tapped the ball into the goal and helped India go 1-0 up in the match and defend the lead till the end to live for another day.
"The only thing we can blame ourselves for is that we didn't score enough. It's not easy to score penalty corners against Ireland, but our performance was not good on a few occasions, but we kept going," said coach Sjoerd Marijne.
"Getting 14 PCs in the match says a lot and I like to talk about the positive that we got those PCs. And the dynamic in our game today was really good and we outplayed Ireland, but you won't see it in the numbers. We kept going in the match, we didn't stop.
"Three minutes before time, we kept pushing and this match has also shown the quality the team has gained and I am very happy with that. And now it's all about recovery and getting ready for the next match as we have a game against South Africa in less than 24 hours," Marijne added.