Japan breaks India’s Paris dreams; beat hosts 1-0

Ranchi, (UNI) The Indian Women’s Hockey Team lost 0-1 to Japan in a hard-fought 3rd/4th place play-off game at the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers Ranchi 2024.

With this loss, India finished in fourth place and missed out on qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Japan set the ground running early in the game and were awarded two penalty corners within the first few minutes. Although the first one wasn’t converted, Karan Urata (6’) made sure that the second one didn’t go wasted as Japan took the lead in the first quarter.

India was awarded a couple of penalty corners and made a few circle entries in the second quarter but were unable to convert any of the opportunities into goals as the teams left the pitch at half-time with India trailing 0-1.

India came close to equalizing by means of a penalty corner early in the third quarter but Japan goal-keeper Akio Tanaka ensured the ball didn’t find the back of the net.

The Indians kept coming at Japan but the Japanese defenders didn’t budge as they held on to their slender lead going into the final quarter.

With the clock ticking and an Olympic qualification on the line, the Indian team found a new gear and were awarded one penalty corner after another.

India came close to equalizing repeatedly but a relentless Japanese defense ensured that they would hold onto their single goal lead and win the game 1-0 to finish in third place and qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

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