Valencia, Dec 16 (PTI) Skipper Savita Punia produced an excellent performance under the bar as India defeated Ireland 2-1 in the shootout to set up a final clash against Spain in the FIH Hockey Women’s Nations Cup here on Friday.
In the regulation time, both teams were locked 1-1 after India bounced back through Udita’s 45th minute penalty corner conversion to cancel out Naomi Carrol’s 13th minute strike.
In the shootout, India struck through Lalremsiami and Sonika in their second and third attempts.
Ireland managed a solitary strike in the shootout from their third attempt through Hannah McLoughlin.
Savita stood tall under the bar and foiled Ellen Curran’s strike with her resolute defence as it went down the wire with Kathryn Mullan needing to score from Ireland’s last attempt to keep them alive.
But Mullan shot wide as India sealed another shootout win to make the final.
The Indian women’s team had beaten New Zealand by an identical margin in the shootout to win the Commonwealth Games bronze earlier this year.
Earlier in the day, Spain rode on Sara Barrios’ 14th minute field goal to defeat Japan 1-0 and seal their final berth.
The lower-ranked Ireland team (No 13) drew first blood with a brilliant counter-attacking run from the right flank as Carrol took the possession before slotting it past Savita with a powerful strike.
Trailing by one goal at the half-time, India failed to create any clear cut chance, while their penalty corner conversions continued to elude them with Gurjit Kaur and Navneet wasting chances.
They had a golden chance to equalise with Deep Grace Ekka taking the strike from close range as the ball took a deflection from Vandana Katariya but only to ricochet off the crossbar in the second quarter.
However, Udita slammed the ball from a low strike just five seconds before the third quarter to bring up the equaliser.
Having missed a flurry of attempts, world number eight India finally managed to score from a penalty and breach Irish goalkeeper Elizabeth Murphy’s defence seconds before the end of third quarter.
Source: PTI News