The Savita Punia-led India team fought bravely in regulation time in the semi-finals that ended 1-1 but missed converting their efforts into a shootout. Ambrosia Malone, Amy Lawton and Caitlin Nobbs scored in the shootout for Australia.
Rebecca Greiner (10th minute) scored the only goal for Australia, while Vandana Katariya (49th minute) scored the only goal for the Indian team.
The Aussies opened the game with the intention of creating early pressure, while the Indians kept their cool as they tried to create opportunities early on. Australia’s strategy paid off as they came close to scoring an opening goal through a deflection but Savita made an excellent save.
After an incident and a mid-field injury, Australia was awarded a free kick, but India successfully blocked it. Navneet Kaur won a penalty corner for India shortly after, but it was in vain.
After that, Australia made an aggressive move, rewarded by a tap-in goal in the 10th minute by Rebecca Greiner to give them the lead. Australia had another chance to double the lead, but Monica’s scintillating defense stopped them. In the last few minutes of the first quarter, India earned a free hit and a penalty corner, but it was not enough to level the contest.
Trailing a goal, India started the second quarter on an aggressive note and managed to put pressure on the Australian defense on the right side. After Neha won the penalty corner, the Indian continued to try to equalize and came close to the draw.
However, the Australian goalkeeper saved Gurjit Kaur’s on-point effort. In the 24th minute, Sangeeta made a brilliant shot at the goal post, but Alisha Power saved her. With five minutes to go, India won another PC, but nothing came of it. Thereafter, as the second quarter approached, both the teams fought to dominate the mid-field.
Similar to the second quarter, India started the third quarter on top, with Salima Tete leading the way. Vandana Katariya and Navneet Kaur also scored some crucial runs and passes as India kept dodging Australia’s defence.
As the game progressed, Australia came into play and Shania Tonkin ran a piercing inside the opposition circle but her shot went wide. However, this did not stop India from insisting on equalisation. India came within inches of scoring their first goal after a strong shot from Navneet Kaur, but Lalremsiami was slow to react to the pass. Australia won five consecutive PCs in the last minute of the third quarter, but India did well to prevent them from scoring.
With the start of the fourth quarter, there was a sense of urgency among the Indian players to equalize the competition. India’s efforts were rewarded when Vandana Katariya scored in the 49th minute after a set by Sushila Chanu. Moments later, India had a chance to go up after Vandana Katariya’s PC win, but, it turned out to be nothing.
After India’s draw, both sides stepped up their attack in search of their second goal but were not successful as the game went into a shootout.
India will next face New Zealand in the bronze medal match on August 7.
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