The Indian women's hockey team created history on Monday here at Oi Hockey Stadium -- North Pitch -- as they qualified for the semi-finals of the Olympics for the very first time after defeating Australia 1-0.
In what comes as a historic day and possibly the greatest moment for women's hockey in India, Gurjit Kaur scored the lone goal in the match during the first half through a penalty corner in a very tightly contested match. The Indian players looked to give it their all as they ensured Gurjit's effort didn't go in vain. The Australians threw it their all, but the Indian women refused to buckle even though the Aussies kept piling the pressure with each passing minute.
The first quarter started in great pace as both teams put their foot on the accelerator and the forwards from both teams came very close to finding the back of the net. But none succeeded in scoring after the first fifteen minutes.
After saving a penalty corner on another end, India soon got the second PC of the match in the second quarter. India's star drag-flicker Gurjit made sure that she made the opportunity count as she gave the Women in Blue a crucial lead against the mighty Aussies. Indians went for a direct PC and after hitting the legs, the ball hit a stick and found a way into the goal. Notably, Australia had conceded just one goal in the tournament so far.
In the second half, Hockeyroos as expected came in waves as they looked for the goal. But India goalie Savita and the defense stood firm. The Indian team made sure they did not give any space to the Aussies as chances became rarer and rarer for their forwards as the game progressed.
India again kept Australia at bay with some smart defence in the last quarter as they made sure they didn't let Hockeyroos spoil the dream of making it to the semi-final.
Earlier on Sunday, the Indian men's hockey team reached the last four of the Olympics for the first time in 41 years as the team defeated Great Britain 3-1. The last four berth had eluded the Indian men's hockey team since the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games where the team led by V Baskaran won the eighth Gold medal for India.