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Tokyo Olympics: India lose 1-4 to Great Britain in women's hockey

Lily Owsley of Team Great Britain chases the loose ball against Nisha of Team India during the Women's Preliminary Pool A match between Great Britain and India on day five of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Oi Hockey Stadium on July 28, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Indian women's hockey team slumped to its third successive defeat, losing 1-4 to defending champion Great Britain in their Pool A game of the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday.

India needed at least a point to boost its chances of progressing to the quarterfinals, but the reverse meant that it is now all or nothing for Sjoerd Marijne's team. It has to win the remaining matches against Ireland and South Africa and can finish fourth if Ireland doesn't beat Great Britain in the final group game. The top four from each group advance to the last-eight stage. 

Great Britain got off to a dream start as Hannah Martin scored just 73 seconds into the game. The early setback served as a rude jolt for the Indians.

With a watertight defence, Great Britain offered the Indians no room. Playing an aggressive high press, they choked Rani Rampal’s side for space and shut out chances in the penalty circle. 

Martin struck again in the 19th minute to double the lead, warding off a challenge from a defender before twisting and squeezing her shot home. The Indians responded sharply four minutes later when Gurjit Kaur's drag-flick off a penalty corner was turned in by Sharmila Devi.

Marijne's pep-talk during the break seemed to have made an impression as the Indians seized control in the opening minutes of the third quarter. They won three successive penalty corners but couldn't find a way through to the goal.  

Instead, it was Lily Owsley who restored Great Britain's two-goal cushion in the 41st minute, scooping the ball past Savita Punia. Grace Balsdon converted a penalty stroke, three minutes from time, to complete the rout.

Great Britain is third in the standings while India is fifth, above South Africa, on goal difference. The Indians next face Ireland on Friday. 

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 10:58:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/tokyo-olympics-india-lose-1-4-to-great-britain-in-olympic-womens-hockey/article35575159.ece

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