The Indian women’s hockey team lost 0-3 in the shoot-out to four-time champions Australia after both teams were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation time in the semi-final of the ongoing Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham. The Savita Punia-led unit fought the opposition who got two more penalty corners with just a minute left for the final hooter. But the Indian skipper made a double save from the first attempt, taking the match into a shoot-out.
But it was a heartbreak for India as Lalremsiami, Neha Goyal and Navneet Kaur missed their first three attempts, while Australia converted all their chances to set up a show-down against hosts England in the final. The shoot-out, however, got embroiled in a controversy after Punia saved the first Australian attempt by Ambrosia Malone but with the clock not set, India conceded the second time.
Australia further hit the next three into the goal, while shots from the Indians were saved by Australia’s swapped goalkeeper Jocelyn Bartram.
Ambrosia Malone’s shot was saved by Punia but Australia were asked to retake the shot due to a technical snag. The officials had forgotten to switch on the shot clock and Malone hit it into the goal, with the official – a technical delegate – uttering, “no, no, no, wait, wait, wait”. She communicated the retake decision to the referee and Australia were given another chance despite Punia’s save.
The technical delegate has to raise his hand before starting the shot clock, and at the same time indicate the striker to go for the penalty.
“It was a very close match and sometimes these decisions don’t go your way, it becomes tougher. The first stroke was asked to be retaken. It was tough for us but, at the same time, these are part of the game. We have to move on,” Punia told Sony Sports after the semi-final defeat.
“It will take today’s time (to get over the loss in the semi-final). It was a close match, we had worked hard. But now, the bronze medal match is very important. We are aware of it.
“As a captain, as a senior player, it’s my responsibility to motivate the players and make sure they are ready for the bronze medal match.
India coach Janneke Schopman also reacted to the shot clock issue but said that it shouldn’t be an excuse for her team’s defeat. India will now play last edition’s winners New Zealand in the bronze medal play-off on Sunday.
“I just don’t understand. Australia wasn’t complaining, everyone agreed. It was a great stop. Even the umpires didn’t understand.
“It’s tough, because I think from 1-0 up arguably and going in with momentum, I have 5 players that are upset that they can take it again. Their focus might have been influenced a little bit but it’s not an excuse. It wasn’t “It’s not helpful for us at all,” Schopman said.