Women’s HWL Semifinal: India beats Chile 1-0 to enter quarterfinals

Preeti Dubey’s 38th minute goal ensured India earned its first win in the tournament.

India captain Rani (left) celebrates with Preeti Dubey after the latter scored the only goal of the match on Wednesday.   -  Special Arrangement

Preeti Dubey scored the all-important winner as a gritty India beat Chile 1-0 to enter the quarterfinals of the FIH Women’s Hockey World League (HWL) Semifinal, here on Wednesday.

Preeti’s 38th minute goal ensured India earned its first win in the tournament after a goalless draw against South Africa and 4-1 loss to U.S.A. Both teams traded penalty corners in the first quarter; Chile won the first in the fourth minute of the match and India earned its first short corner in the 12th minute, but none of them resulted in goals.

It seemed India had scored off a rebound when it earned another penalty corner in the 12th minute through a successful video referral. But the goal was denied as it came off the body and not the stick.

In the second quarter, Chile managed to create some chances but India, too, had its moments. One such chance came in the 19th minute when Anupa Barla brilliantly stole the ball from a Chilean player; she set up a counter-attack and found Rani in the striking circle. Rani, however, missed the post by inches.

After a barren first half, India finally made a breakthrough when Rani and Preeti worked in tandem. The duo drove into the rival striking circle and Preeti produced the finishing touch with a quick nick to put the ball past the Chilean keeper in the 38th minute. India mounted pressure on Chile with consistent attacks and Rani got another shot on goal, only to be denied by the Chilean goalkeeper.

Soon after, Renuka Yadav found herself on the bench with a yellow card forcing India to start the fourth quarter with 10 players. Chile, thus far, had made no attempt on goal despite 17 circle penetrations while India had made 16 penetrations with five shots on goal.

The final 15 minutes saw some tense moments with Chile making desperate attempts to break the Indian defence. Barla, meanwhile, did well to beat the first defender and then find a Chilean foot to win India another penalty corner in the 54th minute but its variation failed to yield desire result. Chile, on the other hand, won back-to-back penalty corners in the 55th minute but India did well to defend and keep a clean slate.

India will take on Argentina in its final Pool B match on July 16.

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