Asian Games 2018: India women’s hockey team thrash Thailand 5-0 to seal semi-final berth
The Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal scored a hat-trick as India thrashed Thailand 5-0 and qualified for the semi-finals of the 18th Asian Games on Monday.
Although the score-line suggests a comfortable victory the match was far from being easy for the Indians, who failed to score in the opening two quarters. Thailand played on the counter preferring to absorb most of the Indian attacks.
Their defence was well organised and gave very little space to the Indian front-line rendering their efforts null in the opening half.
But they broke loose in the final two quarters as India scored five in the final 24 minutes to extend their unbeaten streak to four matches. They finished with 12 points and topped Pool B on their way to the semis.
Skipper Rani scored three in the 37th, 46th and 56th minutes, while Monika (52nd) and Navjot Kaur (55th) score the other two to seal their fourth victory in as many matches.
Thailand started well and dominated possession in the opening exchange, but it was India who had the first opportunity to score when Rani’s reverse hit went inches wide of the post. Seconds later India had another chance to score through a penalty corner but Deep Grace Ekka’s attempt was straight at the Thai line.
Rani then had two wonderful chances to break the deadlock in the second quarter, but while her first shot sailed wide, she was denied one by Thai goalkeeper Alisa Narueangram, who was brilliant in between the sticks.
World No.9 India built the pressure with repeated attacks most of which resulted in penalty corners, but Alisa kept her side in the game with another wonderful save. But her line was breached finally in the 37th minute when Rani scored from a rebound after Udita’s effort was kept out by the goalie.
It opened the floodgates and further increased India’s dominance in the game pushing Thailand towards elimination.