The Indian women’s hockey team yet again produced a lacklustre performance as it was outplayed by United States of America 0-3 to slump to its third successive loss in the Rio Olympics in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.
Still seeking their first win after returning to women’s Olympic hockey since their 1980 appearance, the Indians were once again left to defend their citadel for most part of the match as the Americans dictated the pace of the Pool B fixture.
With the loss, India remained as one of the bottom two teams (the other being Japan) with just one point from four matches in the six-team Pool B standings as their chance of making it to the quarterfinals worsened. India will have to beat higher-ranked Argentina in their final pool fixture on August 13 for any chance of qualifying to the quarterfinals.
The fitter and faster Americans kept the possession with them for long periods of the match while the Indians gave away the ball easily to their opponents, who got nine penalty corners as against none by the Indians. The Americans, however, could not score a single goal from the penalty corner. All the three goals came from field efforts.
Kathleen Bam scored twice — in the 14th and 42nd minutes — while Melissa Gonzalez struck once in the 52nd minute. The Indians had just a couple of shots at the opposition goal as they were outplayed by their opponents once again. Just as it seemed that the Indians will maintain a clean slate in the first quarter, they conceded a goal in the 14th minute with the dangerous Kathleen scoring a field goal following a sloppy defending.
Kathleen’s reverse shot went past the Indian goalkeeper Savita Punia.
The Indians did better in the second quarter as they were able to stop the Americans from scoring, including from the two penalty corners. In the 20th minute, Rani Rampal’s reverse hit found the target but it turned out that the ball sounded the board after being deflected from Preeti Dubey’s leg to the disappointment of the Indian supporters.
India showed some purpose and intent to attack in the third quarter and they raided the American defence on a few occasions with Rani Rampal in the thick of action most of the times. But USA made it 2-0 in the third quarter with Kathleen scoring her second goal of the match in the 42nd minute as she rounded off a defender with a reverse flick before sending the ball through the legs of Indian goalkeeper Savita Punia into the goal.
The Indian defence crumbled in the final quarter as they ventured higher on the field in search of a goal but they were punished by the Americans on the counter. Melissa Gonzalez fired in from close range in the 52nd minute after a neat passing interchange among three players.
The Americans got three penalty corners in the final quarter and put the Indian defence under severe pressure but they could not add any more goal.