Tokyo: Navneet Kaur scored a late winner as the Indian women’s hockey team kept its quarterfinals hopes alive in the Olympics with a 1-0 win over Ireland in a must-win penultimate pool match here on Friday.
After goal-less three quarters, which India completely dominated but failed to breach the Irish defence led by goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran, Navneet finally found the back of the net in the 57th minute to bring smiles on the Indian faces.
Needing a win to keep their hopes alive after three consecutive losses, India had to wait anxiously for 57 minutes despite being the dominant team on display and creating innumerable scoring chances.
India had chances galore from the opening whistle and got as many as 14 penalty corners but failed to utilise even a single one. But a moment of brilliance from skipper Rani Rampal, who created the opportunity for Navneet, rescued India from an early exit from the Games.
Navneet was at the right place at the right time to tap the ball in. India will now need to win their final Pool A match against South Africa on Saturday and hope Ireland loses to Great Britain to seal their quarterfinal berth.
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