Tokyo 2020: India keep quarter-final hopes alive with a narrow win over Ireland
India women's hockey team kept their hopes of qualifying for the quarter-final of Tokyo Olympics alive by clinching a late winner in a thrilling 1-0 win over Ireland in their Pool A match at the Oi Hockey Stadium North Pitch on Friday. The Indian women’s hockey team scored a late goal to eke out a narrow 1-0 victory over Ireland in a must-win penultimate pool match to stay alive in the Olympics in Tokyo on Friday. Needing a win to keep their hopes alive after three consecutive losses, India waited anxiously for 57 minutes before Navneet Kaur scored the winner to keep her side in the hunt for a quarterfinal berth.
India had chances galore from the opening whistle and got as many as 14 penalty corners but failed to utilize even a single one of them. But a moment of brilliance from skipper Rani Rampal, who created the opportunity for Navneet, rescued India from an early exit from the Games. Navneet was at the right place at the right time to tap the ball in. India will now need to win their final Pool A match against South Africa on Saturday and hope for Ireland to face defeat at the hands of Great Britain to seal their quarterfinal berth. The top four teams from each pool qualify for the knockout stage.
India's dominance can be gauged from the fact that they earned as many 10 penalty corners in the first two quarters but wasted all. India got their first penalty corner in the eight-minute and two minutes later they secured two more set pieces after Navneet's reverse shot was saved by Ireland goalkeeper McFerran. In the 39th minute, Sharmila Devi made a brilliant solo run from the midfield and upon entering the circle tried a reverse stick hit which was kept away by McFerran.
India will now need to win their final Pool A match against South Africa on Saturday and hope for Ireland to face defeat at the hands of Great Britain to seal their quarterfinal berth. The top four teams from each pool qualify for the knockout stage.