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Women fail to make it to semis

The India women's hockey team missed the semi-final berth of the Commonwealth Games by a whisker despite beating South Africa 3-1 in their last league match on Saturday. It was a the best ever performance dished out by India in the past one week, especially after splitting points against lowly Scotland and then losing to defending champions Australia 1-2.

india Updated: Oct 10, 2010 01:32 IST
Sharad Deep

The India women's hockey team missed the semi-final berth of the Commonwealth Games by a whisker despite beating South Africa 3-1 in their last league match on Saturday. It was a the best ever performance dished out by India in the past one week, especially after splitting points against lowly Scotland and then losing to defending champions Australia 1-2.

Deepika Thakur was at her best, netting the first two goals, before Surinder Kaur extended it to 3-0 at the break.

But India lost the momentum in the second half, allowing South Africa to reduce the margin through their most experienced defender Pietie Coetzee.

A four-goal difference to make it to the last four was a must, and going by the way India were playing, it looked very much possible. But South Africa played smart hockey after changing ends as they killed time by keeping the ball in their circle.

Thakur put India ahead after converting their maiden penalty corner in the 10th minute She again converted in the 20th minute. India had a few chances to increase the margin but South Africa custodian Yuvisanani Mangisa denied Saba Anjum and Rani Rampal with back-to-back saves. Kaur made it 3-0 in the 29th minute with a field goal after making her way past a bunch of rival defenders.

India looked almost certain for two more goals even after Coetzee reduced the margin in the 46th minute, but Mangisa proved to be a quite a difficult obstacle.

Beside South Africa, Australia too advanced to the semi-finals, defeating Scotland 5-2 in their concluding Pool A match in morning.

Australia topped their group with 10 points, leaving South Africa (7) and India (7) at second and third spots.