India Women vs Australia Women Commonwealth Games Semi-final 2022, Birmingham: There is every reason for the Indian women’s team to be disappointed after losing the semi-final against Australia in the penalty shoot-out (0-3), having missed all their shots in a match where there was nothing to choose between both the sides. The semi-final was played at a very high intensity and although Australia took the early lead in the first quarter, India slowly got their act together and became more and more confident as the game progressed.
India kept looking for the equaliser in the next two quarters but with little luck as three penalty corners went begging. Australia, possibly for the first time in the tournament were feeling the heat. India came back strongly in the final quarter by scoring the equaliser with little over 10 minutes of play remaining in the match and after saving a flurry of penalty corners from Australia, the match went to penalty shoot-out.
It started off exactly the way India wanted. The Indian goal-keeper Savita Punia did what she does best. Saved the first penalty shoot-out shot from the Aussies but as luck had it, the clock didn’t start and therefore had to be retaken. In a Commonwealth Games semi-final, the match going down to the wire and the organisers forgot to do a quality check on whether the clock was working or not even before the shoot-out started is hard to believe, let alone accept.
One can argue that the Indians lost the shoot-out 0-3 but anybody who has ever laid a foot to a ball would tell you that it is enough for anyone to lose focus, worse lose confidence or get upset. Afterall, the winner gets to play for gold and in a high-pressure match, such moments can completely change the momentum of the match.
Pretty much the same thing happened during India’s bronze match last year in Tokyo Olympics where the clock stopped working in the closing quarters. At the international level, it is unacceptable and is an absolute disgrace.