NEW DELHI: History was scripted as the Indian women's hockey team secured an Olympic semifinal berth.
Gurjit Kaur's scores from a penalty corner in the second quarter were enough for India to advance at the expense of three-time champions and world no.2 Australia. India put a resilient performance throughout the match and successfully defended nine penalty corners in the match.
"How my heart was? Its still working. I was like…ggahhh but that's in every match in the last three games," women's team coach Sjoerd Marijne said after the match.
"Oh man, what we've tried to do and what we have done is work match by match. What can we improve in the next one and the next one", he added.
Coming into the match, the odds were totally against India as in world no.2 Australia, a mighty unbeaten opponent, awaited them.
The Rani Rampal-led side will play Argentina in the semi-final on Wednesday.
The Indians started slow off the blocks but grew in confidence as the match progressed.
Australia had the first shot at the goal but India goalkeeper Savita did just enough to deny Amrosia Malone, whose slap shot from inside the circle hit the post.
The Indians thereafter adopted an aggressive approach and caught the Australian defense off guard quite a few times.
India's pace and determination seemed to have surprised the Australians as they panicked while defending and were lucky not to have conceded a goal in the first quarter.
In the ninth minute, skipper Rani Rampal's deflection from a Vandana Katariya shot hit the back post as Australia survived.
A minute later, Broke Peris' shot from the top of the circle just went wide past a fully stretched Savita.
The Indians created another chance in the first quarter but an alert Australian goalkeeper Rachael Lynch came out of her line to deny Sharmila Devi from a one-on-one situation.
But the Indians, determined to prove a point, produced a strong and brave performance to eke out the narrow win over the Hockeyroos.