Indian women hockey team failed to capitalise on two goal-scoring chances in the dying minutes of the match to suffer a 0-1 defeat at the hands of triple defending champions Australia in the semifinals of the Commonwealth Games, here today.
Desperate to neutralise the Grace Stewart strike in the third quarter, India's coach Harendra Singh recalled goalkeeper Savita Punia when only four minutes were left in the match but the players could not cash in on the chances that came their way.
Navneet missed out a sitter from a Monika-cross from the right flank while Rani could not slam in a through pass form Vanadana Kataria.
India will now clash with England for a bronze medal.
The play was mostly restricted to India's half with Australia dominating the contest with high ball possession.
The Indian team saved two back-to-back penalty corners in the early minutes of first quarter after Vandana created a move inside the Australian striking circle but lacked support to pose a serious threat.
The Indian defense remained solid to keep an aggressive Australia at bay, though, passing upfront was not fluent for the Rani-led team.
The defending champions remained offensive, restricting the play to India's half but still could not penetrate the defense as the second quarter too remained goal-less.
Australia earned its third penalty corner of the match in the third quarter but an onrushing Deep Grace Ekka foiled the attempt. Stewart broke the deadlock but tapping a high cross, straight into the Indian goal.
India earned back-to-back penalty corners in the fourth quarter but squandered both as the opportunity to score an equaliser went abegging. They got another PC but could not utilise.
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