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Hockey Olympic Qualifiers: India thrashes Italy, qualifies for semifinal

Udita Dhuan scored two goals on her 100th appearance as India thrashed Italy 5-1 to qualify for the semi-final of FIH Olympic Qualifiers.

Hockey Olympic Qualifiers: India thrashes Italy, qualifies for semifinal

Pritish Raj

Updated: 17 Jan 2024 6:09 AM GMT

Ranchi: The home crowd was treated to some delightful hockey and dazzling stick work by the Indian women's hockey team as they defeated Italy --- to qualify for the knockout of FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers in Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh Munda Astro Turf Stadium on Tuesday.

The Indian team finished second in Pool B behind the USA and made it to the semi-finals to face Germany. India must finish in the top three to secure their 2024 Paris Olympics berth.

After the US defeated New Zealand 1-0 in the other pool game, India just needed to avoid the loss against Italy to stay alive in the tournament.

India rocked the Italians in the game's starting minute with a quick move resulting in the penalty corner. Playing her 100th game today, Udita was precise with her shot as she buried the ball in the Italian net to give India a 1-0 lead in 45 seconds.

After the first goal, the speed of the game slowed down as Italy became more patient with the ball and started making circle entries troubling the Indian defence.

India regained its composure and entered the Italian circle twice in the first quarter but the quarter ended with India leading 1-0.

Udita continued taking the penalty corners but her slap shot was saved by the Italian defence in the 17th minute. India continued applying pressure as local girl Sangita Kumari displayed 3D skills in the Italian circle but the resultant penalty corner was saved by Italy.

The first half ended with India leading 1-0.

India came with more intent in the second half and immediately India won a penalty corner but the poor routine resulted in no goal.

India's second game goal came when Lalremsiami was trapped in the circle by the Italian defence and Deepika converted from the spot to make it 2-0 in the 40th minute.

The second goal opened the floodgates as local girl Salima Tete scored from a booming reserve hit to make it 3-0 in the dying minutes of the third quarter.

The final quarter had three goals with India scoring two and Italy getting their consolation goal.

Navneet Kaur scored India's fourth goal with a brilliant move in the circle in the 53rd minute while Udita Dhuan capped off her 100th appearance with another goal as she converted from the penalty corner in the 55th minute.

Italy scored their consolation goal in the last minute as Machin Camila converted from the penalty corner to make it 1-5.

India will face world number five Germany in the semi-finals on 18th January after a rest day tomorrow.

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