FIH Women Series Finals: India beats Chile 4-2 to enter final

After finishing on top of Pool A with massive wins against Uruguay, Poland and Fiji, India will face Chile in the semifinal today. Catch the live updates from the match here.

The India women's hockey team during a practice session ahead of the FIH Women's Series finals.   -  PTI

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live coverage of the all-important semifinal between India and Chile  at FIH Women's Series Finals in Hiroshima.

 

India has had a good three-day break after its 11-0 win against Fiji on Tuesday. A win today will help India secure its place in the final round of Tokyo Olympic qualifiers to be held later this year.

India's Starting XI

Rani (C), Gurjit, Deep Grace, Monika, Nikki, Savita (GK), Vandana, Navneet, Sunita, Sushila, Lilima

 

Q4

INDIA WINS 4-2 and seals a spot in the Olympic qualifiers to be held later this year. India will face the winner of the clash between host Japan and Russia in the summit clash of the FIH Series Finals at Hiroshima, Japan.

Match REPORT

58' India earns yet another penalty corner. A goal here would have effectively sealed a spot in the Olympic qualifiers, but Chile successfully blocks the attempt.

57' GOAL! It's the skipper rising to the occasion this time. India misses the penalty corner, but the ball is kept in play and alert Rani Rampal slot it in for a field goal. Will this be enough for India? India 4- Chile 2.

55' That was a scare. After giving India a half chance the previous minute with an open space, Chile gets one inside the goalpost, but the referee disallows the goal.

50' Ten minutes remain in this exciting semifinal clash between India and Chile. It has been a story of even possession so far in the fourth quarter, with India doing slightly better in Chile's D. It's time to go for the kill.

It's make or break time for India. It is only marginally ahead of Chile, but the South Americans gave India a really hard time in the closing minutes of the third quarter. It is a relief that India conceded just one goal during that phase. India certainly looked like the underdogs during that phase. 

Q3

END OF THIRD QUARTER: India 3 - Chile 2.

 It's looking too close for comfort for India at the moment. The Olympic qualifier quota looks perched on a cliff. Will India grab it or let it slip?  

43' GOAL: After two failed attempts, the Chile forwards show their intent to earn yet another penalty corner. But this time, it is a successful attempt from Manuela Urroz. India 3- 2 Chile.

42' Another PC for Chile, but same result. They certainly lack the power that Gurjit Kaur puts into her shots during PC.

41' Chile earns a penalty corner, but India keeps the score unchanged with some effective defence. 

40' It looks like India is the favourite with the crowd. Not surprising, but the players would certainly be charged by the loud cheers of 'India, India' coming from the stands.

37' GOAL: India finally living up to its rank, earns a penalty corner after applying constant pressure in Chile's D. Drag-flick queen Gurjit Kaur makes no mistake to make it 3-1 for India

31' GOAL: The crucial third quarter begins with a goal from India. It was a no fuss chip goal made to look easy-peasy by Navneet Kaur. India 2-1 Chile.

 

Q2

END OF SECOND QUARTER: INDIA  1 - 1 CHILE.  Surprisingly, it was Chile which had a better possession rate (52 %)  in the second quarter.

26' Remember, a spot in the Olympic qualifiers is at stake here today. India, ranked 9th in the world, wouldn't want to be at the mercy of the rankings to seal its place. It needs a win here.

22' GOAL: She doesn't make a mistake the second time. India equalises with a clean PC.

21': Penalty corner: Gurjit Kaur hits the foot of the first rusher to earn another penalty corner..

18' GOAL:  Carolina Garcia with the first goal of the match for Chile. After India fiddled around inside Chile's D, the South Americans goes on the counter-attack to catch the Indians off guard. Despite a crowded goalpost, Garcia manages to sneak one in. India under tremendous pressure now.

The second quarter is underway. Which team will break the deadlock?

 

Q1

End of the first Quarter: INDIA 0 - 0 CHILE 

13' With two minutes left for the first quarter, Chile gets its first penalty corner. It is a meek attempt from the Chile forwards and India goalkeeper doesn't have to fret much. The ball was shot quite away from the goalpost. No damage done.

11' PENALTY CORNER: First penalty corner opportunity for India, but Chile goalkeeper deflects it away.

10' Chile with a chance, but easily blocked by India's keeper Savita.

8' Midway through the first quarter and no clear chances yet. Chile is ranked No. 16 and it was expected to be an easy passage into the final for India. Not the story so far.

5' If the first five minutes are any indication, it is not going to be an easy outing for India. Chile managed into threaten the Indian defence with some fast footwork to charge into the Indian half on a couple of occasions, but no major chances for either of the teams so far.

2' India, as expected, has largely kept the possession and have penetrated well into the opposition half.

Play is underway in the first semifinal between India and Chile at Hiroshima.

 

 

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The Preview

Title contender India will start as the overwhelming favourite against lower-ranked Chile in the semifinals of the women’s FIH Series Finals hockey tournament here Saturday.

The ninth-ranked India is unbeaten so far in the tournament, having registered comfortable wins over Uruguay (4-1), Poland (5-0) and Fiji (11-0).

And going by its world rankings and current form, India is expected to win hands down against world No. 16 Chile.

India is just one win away from securing its place in the final round of Tokyo Olympic qualifiers to be held later this year with two top spots up for grabs from here.

And achieving that goal shouldn’t be much of a problem for the Indians.

In all its pool matches, India had plenty of scoring opportunities but conversion rate is an area which is of a little concern for chief coach Sjoerd Marijne.

Conversion rate needs to improve, says Marijne

“We want to perform at the highest level possible and I believe there is still room for improvement,” Marijne had said.

“Our conversion rate can definitely be higher and if that happens it will be easier for us to win matches.”

In the last match against world No. 44 Fiji, Gurjit Kaur slammed four goals, including a hat-trick and the drag-flicker would look to carry her form in the remaining games of the tournament.

Skipper Rani Rampal said India can’t afford to take any team lightly.

Read: HI sacks Jude Felix, advertises for new junior men’s coach

“We are looking forward to the semifinal. We just have to just focus on ourselves. We have to give our best,” Rani had said.

Chile, on the hand, finished second in its pool and had to go through the cross-overs to seal its place in the last-four round.

Chile defeated Mexico 7-0, hosts Japan 3-1 before being stunned by world no. 25 Russia 2-5.

But in the cross-overs, Chile edged past Uruguay 5-2 to set up a last-four encounter against India.

In the other semifinal, Russia will take on World no. 14 Japan.