Chak De moment for India in Tokyo 2020

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August 2, 2021, will remain a red-letter day for Indian women's hockey. Photo: Business Standard
August 2, 2021, will remain a red-letter day for Indian women's hockey. Photo: Business Standard

After Sunday’s resounding success in the men’s hockey at Tokyo 2020, it was the turn of the Indian women’s team to make it to the semis. But they had a tough opponent against three-time Olympic gold medal winners, Australia and they knew their job was cut out. And history was made. India in a stunning victory shocked Australia 1-0 to enter the semis. The hockey fans in India continued their celebration from last night when the men’s team defeated Great Britain to reach the semis after Moscow 1980. India held onto their lead through Gurjit Kaur in the second quarter as they showcased immense defensive might to keep the Australian women at bay.

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It was back to back penalty corners towards the end for Australia and Savita Punia came to India’s rescue. It was in the 22nd minute that Gurjit Kaur scored the first and eventually the only goal of the tournament. She came up with a brilliant drag flick to beat Australian keeper Rachael Lynch.

The win can be termed India’s biggest win in women’s hockey as the team is playing in the Olympics only for the third time and had struggled to the knockout rounds, finishing fourth in Pool A. The Australian women’s team is ranked second in the world behind the Netherlands and they topped Pool B with an all-win record and this quarterfinal match was supposed to be a cake-walk for them.

India had five shots on goal compared to 14 of Australia but India’s defence was superb and they did not let Australia score despite conceding seven penalty corners in the match.

India will now face Argentina in the semifinals, who defeated Germany 3-0 in the other quarterfinal. A spot in the semifinals also means that India are guaranteed a medal match for the first-time in Olympics.

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