Women's FIH Nations Cup: India Beat Ireland In Shootout To Reach Final

DN Bureau

The Indian hockey team won a tough semi-final shootout against Ireland in Valencia, Spain to advance to the Women's FIH Nations Cup 2022 final. Read on for details:

Indian women's hockey team
Indian women's hockey team

Valencia [Spain]: The Indian hockey team won a tough semi-final shootout against Ireland in Valencia, Spain to advance to the Women's FIH Nations Cup 2022 final. After Carroll Naomi (14') put Ireland ahead, Udita found the equalizer for India in the 44th minute. At 1-1 at the final whistle, India won the shootout 2-1 to advance to the final against Spain on Saturday.

The victory keeps India's chances of being promoted to the FIH Pro League for the 2023-24 season alive. The inaugural Women's FIH Nations Cup champion will be promoted to the Pro League the following year as per the Olympics website.

India, which had a 4-3 head-to-head record versus Ireland coming into the match, got off to a quick start and dominated possession.  However, the team lacked the decisive touch in the opposition third to threaten the rival goal.

Ireland gradually gained a foothold in the game and reaped the benefits in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter. Carroll Naomi broke quickly and past Indian goalkeeper Savita Punia with a well-placed shot to put Ireland up 1-0.

India, ranked eighth in the world, sought an instant reaction in the second quarter, and Indian vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka came close to levelling things up. Her low drive from a penalty corner deflected and stranded the Irish goalkeeper but came out after rattling the post.

With less than a minute remaining in the second quarter, India won another penalty corner, which the Irish defence successfully blocked. Naomi appeared to have beaten Savita again from the subsequent counter, but the celebrations were stopped short when the goal was chalked off due to a back-stick foul after a review by the Indian team. The Irish led 1-0 at halftime.

The Indian squad came out all guns blazing in the third quarter in pursuit of an equalizer. Murphy's brilliant goalkeeping performance, on the other hand, kept the Indian squad at bay. The Dubliner made numerous outstanding saves, including several penalty corners.

Murphy's gallant resistance was finally broken by Udita, who beat the Irish keeper with a wonderfully placed PC in the bottom corner after being denied multiple attempts by Murphy.

The game flowed similarly in the third quarter, with India pouring on the pressure in pursuit of a victory and Murphy remaining steadfast. The last hooter sounded, and the contest was headed to a shootout.

Both Murphy and Savita produced goalkeeping masterclasses in the shootout, but India emerged victorious, winning the shootout 2-1. In the final, India will meet Spain, which defeated Japan in the other semi-final. (ANI)

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