Coming up against India in the quarterfinals, the undefeated Hockeyroos 1-0 loss sees their Tokyo 2020 campaign end early. Keep up to date with all the happenings at Tokyo 2020 through The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and Olympic Central.
After finishing first in Pool B with a 5-0 record, Australia took on India in the quarterfinals of the women’s hockey but it wasn’t to be for the Aussies, going down 1-0 courtesy of a second-quarter Gurjit Kaur strike.
For Australia, it was just the second goal it had conceded throughout this Olympic Games, keeping a clean sheet in each of its last four matches before today. A three-time Olympic Games gold medal-winning team, Australia keeps its trend of either winning gold or crashing out in the quarterfinals. Unfortunately today, it was the latter.
India finished fourth in Pool A with a 2-3 record in only its third women’s hockey appearance at an Olympic Games.
Already in its first women’s hockey quarterfinal, it now goes on to play in the nation’s first semi-final against Argentina. India’s best finish at an Olympic Games was in Moscow 1980, where the team finished fourth.
Australia had the first shot of the game within two minutes through Ambrosia Malone, however it shot off the edge of the goal. The Hockeyroos forward surge worked well in this instance, and in the early parts of the game.
Australia was forcing India back past the halfway point with good defence, although the defensive efforts of India were also to be commended, not allowing Australia to get many entries forward.
India remained aggressive and got into strong shooting positions. Vandana Katariya was unaccounted for inside the circle, though also found a deflection off the iron from a small tapping parry, down aiming for the goal.
Brooke Peris sent a shot wide just a minute later to have the Hockeyroos attacking to try and find the first goal of the game, though to no avail.
There was a clash of two players going for the ball, Australian goalkeeper Rachael Lynch and India’s Sharmila Devi saw the latter feeling the brunt of the collision.
On a breakaway chance, Devi had control but Lynch came out of the goal, collecting the Indian attacker who as down for a while but got back up after the physio visited her.
Grace Stewart ended the first quarter action with a shot that travelled over the top of the net on a quick transition play up the middle, out from the back of the field. The scores remained nil-all at the first break.
Feeling India’s aggressiveness, Australia looked shaky to begin the second quarter, some errant passes and intercepts from its opponents contributing.
The Hockeyroos claimed their first penalty corner within five minutes into the quarter, though the initial shot was deflected and saved, as were the two follow-up attempts by different players in the green and gold.
The tight defensive efforts from India paved the way for limiting damage that Australia could’ve put on the scoreboard, but that wasn’t all as India went forward in attack.
India earned a penalty corner to which, on the entry back into the field, was able to score the game’s first – and to be only – goal of the game.
The shot and score, credited to Gurjit Kaur, deflected off three Australian defenders to find a way through to the back of the net and put India up in the quarterfinal.
Monika Malik from India saw a green card and had to sit down for two minutes after taking off with the ball through a miscommunication, when possession had been awarded to Australia.
The Hockeyroos looked to take advantage of the extra player they had on the field and Emily Chalker stole the ball in her third, breaking towards the goal but had another shot deflected via a Savita save before the half ended.
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Australia came out of the extended break searching to be attacking and find an equaliser, and in the first four minutes had three shots and two penalty corners.
First, Mariah Williams had her shot saved by Sativa, before Karri Somerville and Kate Jenner missed consecutive penalty corner attempts.
The Hockeyroos were either too slow to get a shot off or played around the area to gain a better angle, each scenario gifting India valuable time to defend more closely and carefully.
Another green card for India allowed Australia to try and find an equaliser. Australia overcomplicated things with its passing again, and couldn’t find a goal as Peris also earned a green card on the stroke of three quarter-time.
Peris’ suspension ended a minute into the fourth quarter and a few moments later, Australia again pressed well and earned another two consecutive penalty corners. As it had been all day, India’s defence was rock-solid, Savita again standing tall to block the two incoming shots.
Nikki Pradhan of India saw a green card and was forced to come off, but Australia couldn’t make use of the extra player.
A third penalty corner in the quarter for the Hockeyroos came via a video referral which went in Australia’s favour, after it was revealed an Indian defender had pushed an Australian attacker inside the circle.
The ensuing shot from Madison Fitzpatrick was saved by Savita before the Hockeyroos earned another penalty corner due to an Indian player still wearing gloves from the previous penalty corner, in the field of play.
India was able to whittle down the remaining two minutes and keep the ball well-held, giving Australia no room to move and advance as the team recorded a memorable victory.
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