Tokyo Olympics, Women's Hockey highlights: India defeats Ireland 1-0

Hockey at Tokyo 2020 Olympics score: Here are all the commentary updates from the women's Pool A encounter between India and Ireland on Friday.

Navneet Kaur celebrates with a teammate after giving India the lead against Ireland in their penultimate group game at the Tokyo Olympics.   -  AFP

Welcome to Sportstar's coverage of Indian women's hockey team's Tokyo 2020 game against Ireland. This was Dominic Richard taking you through the action as it unfurled at the Oi Hockey Stadium.

Thanks for tuning in!

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Navneet Kaur was the star of the show as she found the back of the net with just three minutes remaining in the match. Tomorrow, fifth-placed India will take on bottom-ranked South Africa at 8:45 AM IST. The team needs to win and hope that Ireland doesn't beat Great Britain later in the day.

MATCH REPORT | Women's Hockey: Navneet Kaur goal gives India 1-0 win over Ireland

After dominating the possession, having the upper hand when it comes to attacking circle penetrations and not converting 14 penalty corners, the Indian women's national hockey team keeps its hopes of reaching the Tokyo Olympics quarterfinals alive with a 1-0 Pool A victory over Ireland.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS:

AND THE MATCH IS DONE AND DUSTED! INDIA BEATS IRELAND 1-0 TO STAY ALIVE IN THE TOURNAMENT!!!

60' The Indian players are just passing the ball among themselves and running the clock. Irish players look extremely frustrated as we're moments away from the hooter.

57' GOOOOAAAALLLL!!!!!!!!! INDIA TAKES A 1-0 LEAD!!! Navneet Kaur gives India a lifeline. She received a brilliant pass at close range and diverted the ball into goal. Ireland referred it but the umpire's decision stands.

55' Another double save from Indian keeper Savita. She denies Ireland forward Deirdre Duke yet again. Wonderful anticipation from the Indian shot-stopper.

53' India is kind of struggling in this final 15-minute period. Meanwhile, Ireland is looking quite comfortable in the middle. However, no team has come close to breaking the deadlock.

50' GOOD SAVE! Ireland's Anna O’Flanagan sprinted with pace up front. She evaded a tackle, entered the shooting circle and released a shot. But Savita Punia made the save for India.

47' GREEN CARD! India has been reduced to 10 women on the field after the umpire penalised Salima Tete. Can Ireland capitalise on the numerical advantage?

THE FOURTH AND FINAL QUARTER IS UNDERWAY!

India has been the better team today but it's just unable to score. Ireland, on the other hand, has messed up the few chances it has got as well. This game might be heading towards a goalless draw.

THE THIRD QUARTER ENDS!

45' Ireland with a couple of late attacks in the quarter. But nothing menacing from the forwards. India currently holds a 52 per cent possession in this match.

42' SAVE! This was an Ireland counter-attack as India lost the ball in midfield. Indian custodian Savita Punia stood her ground to deny the Irish side their opening goal.

40' ANOTHER INDIAN PC! This is the worst of the lot. The Indian drag flickers are making it extremely easy for the Irish players. They are coming up with weak shots.

37' Ireland's defenders have been top notch today. It looks as though they're happy to sit back and defend because even a draw against India could be enough for their outfit to make the Tokyo Olympics quarterfinals.

34' WHAT A MISS! India's finishing has been horrendous so far. Lalremsiami did all the hard work as she got past two Irish players and set up Navneet Kaur at close range. But the latter, who was one-on-one with keeper McFerran, fired her shot wide.

32' Thirteen penalty corners, zero goals for India. This is just poor execution from Sjoerd Marijne's side. Don't know if they've realised that anything less than a win today will end their tournament in the group stage.

THE THIRD QUARTER STARTS!

No goals for both sides in the opening half. India has made 13 circle penetrations as opposed to Ireland's eight. Thirty minutes to go. Stay tuned!

THE SECOND QUARTER IS DONE AND DUSTED!

30' India is missing PC after PC here. The team has won 10 penalty corners, and converted none in the first half. This might come back to haunt the Indians as Ireland is a team capable of scoring at any time.

27' Good run forward on the left flank from India's Salima Tete. However, the Irish defence stays solid and eventually averts the danger.

25' Sarah Hawkshaw successfully refers an umpire's decision to win a PC for Ireland. But the team is unable to capitalise on it as India initiates a quick counter-attack.

22' WHAT A SAVE! India could have taken the lead here. Lalremsiami had a glorious opportunity. She tried to dribble past Ireland goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran, but the latter had the last laugh.

20' Ireland has won only one penalty corner so far. Lizzy Holden was the drag flicker for the team. She wasn't able to find the back of the net.

17' Ireland has hit its stride here. The Indian back-line is looking a bit rusty. The Irish players are attacking with numbers forward.

THE SECOND QUARTER IS UNDERWAY!

India has wasted five penalty corners in the opening 15 minutes. This has been the story of the tournament for the team. It has to step up to have any chance of beating Ireland and staying alive in the Tokyo Olympics.

THE FIRST QUARTER IS OVER!

14' IRELAND COUNTER-ATTACK! Another Indian PC and another missed chance. The Irish attackers quickly win back the ball and are up front in no time. However, India's Deep Grace Ekka tracks back in time to dispossess Deirdre Duke.

11' India won two more PCs. But Gurjit was denied by the Ireland defence both times. The Indians have to utilise these set-pieces, otherwise they might be out of the competition today.

9' PENALTY CORNER FOR INDIA! Gurjit Kaur comes up with a decent drag flick. The ball takes a deflection and goes out of play. It will be an Indian long corner now.

7' GREEN CARD! The Indian women's team is down to 10 on the field. Midfielder Monika Malik is booked for a badly mistimed challenge on an Irish player.

4' Navneet Kaur sprints towards goal from the left. But her cross attempt is a poor one as Ireland regains the possession.

1' EARLY CHANCE FOR INDIA! There's a brilliant move forward on the right flank. The ball is brought into the shooting circle. However, Rani Rampal isn't able to get to the pass sent to the middle.

AND THE MATCH BEGINS!

The players from both teams are out on the field, and it is time for the national anthems, which will be followed by the toss in the middle.

The team lineups are out!

INDIA XI:  Savita Punia (GK), Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Udita, Neha Goyal, Monika Malik, Rani Rampal (C), Navneet Kaur, Vandana Katariya, Navjot Kaur, Nisha.

COACH - Sjoerd Marijne.

IRELAND XI: Ayeisha McFerran (GK), Chloe Watkins, Sarah Torrans, Roisin Upton, Hannah McLoughlin, Deirdre Duke, Kathryn Mullan (C), Sarah Hawkshaw, Sarah McAuley, Anna O’Flanagan, Elena Tice.

COACH - Sean Dancer.

RAIN UPDATE - The women's hockey Pool A match between India and Ireland has been rescheduled to 9:15 AM IST (12:45 PM local time), a delay of an hour, due to inclement weather at the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.

MATCH PREVIEW:

Staring at an early exit after three consecutive losses, the Indian women's hockey team can't settle for anything less than a victory against Ireland in its penultimate pool match at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday to keep its quarterfinal hopes alive.

But after three morale-shattering defeats, it would be a Herculean task for the Indians to lift their confidence and outplay a higher-ranked side like World No.7 Ireland.

India is currently placed fifth in the six-team Pool A, just below Ireland which has registered just one win and two losses from its three games.

India and South Africa are yet to open their accounts. The top four teams from each pool will qualify for the knockout stage. The road ahead is tough for India as it would need to win both of its remaining two games -- against Ireland and South Africa (on Saturday) -- and improve its goal difference to be on the safe side.

It would also need favourable results from other games and hope for a Great Britain victory over Ireland on Saturday.

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But these equations will come into picture only if India can beat Ireland on Friday. So, it would be a do-or-die match for the Sjoerd Marijne-coached team and he would desperately hope for a better showing from his players against Ireland.

India, which is featuring in consecutive Olympics in women's hockey, finished a lowly 12th at the Rio Games and another heartbreak here won't do any good for the sport in the country.

In their first three games, India lost 1-5 to World No.1 Netherlands, 0-2 to Germany before suffering a 1-4 defeat at the hands of defending champion Great Britain. It was not as if India didn't create any chances in all the three games but the misfiring forward-line disappointed the team.

India committed elementary errors in all departments of the game, with midfield and defence being as guilt. A livid Marijne described the 1-4 loss to Great Britain as his side's "worst match" of the Games and lambasted the players for failing to raise their game in the crucial match.

"This was our worst match. We always try to play for a six (out of 10) for each individual, and I don't think each individual today played for a six. Bad decisions, bad choices and I'm pretty disappointed by this," the Dutchman had said.

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"But the individual performances just weren't good enough. I can keep analysing what went wrong tactically, but it starts with every individual reaching their level."

But Marijne insisted that all is not lost as the team still has a chance of progressing to the knockout round. "We still have chances. There are still six points to get and that can be enough for the quarters. That's what we're all about, that's our goal and that's what I said to the girls," the coach added.

But it would be easier said than done as the faltering Indian defence will need to keep the trio of Elena Tice, captain Kathryn Mullan and Hannah McLoughlin in check.

Though ranked below Ireland, World No.11 India can beat Ireland and has beaten it in the past as well. In February 2019, India defeated Ireland 3-0 and drew 1-1 against the same opponent in a two-match series during a tour of Spain.

THE SQUADS:

India - Savita Punia, Deep Grace Ekka, Nikki Pradhan, Gurjit Kaur, Udita, Nisha, Neha Goyal, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika Malik, Navjot Kaur, Salima Tete, Rani Rampal, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Vandana Katariya, Sharmila Devi.

Ireland - Ayeisha McFerran, Chloe Watkins, Hannah Matthews, Sarah Torrans, Nicci Daly, Roisin Upton, Hannah McLoughlin, Deirdre Duke, Katie Mullan, Shirley McCay, Sarah Hawkshaw, Elena Tice, Naomi Carroll, Lizzie Holden, Sarah McAuley, Anna O’Flanagan.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs):

  • At what time will the Indian women's hockey team be in action?
    The hockey game against Ireland will start today at 8:15 AM IST (11:45 AM local time).
  • Where to watch Indian events at Tokyo Olympics?
    The Sony Sports Network will broadcast Tokyo Olympics live in India.

    Sony TEN 3 HD/SD will telecast India events with Hindi commentary while Sony TEN 1 HD/SD and Sony TEN 2 HD/SD will have English commentary.

    Live streaming of the events will be available on the SonyLIV and JioTV apps.