Katariya's hat-trick keeps India's hopes alive in Olympic women's hockey
Striker Vandana Katariya scored a historic hat-trick to keep alive the Indian women's hockey team's quarterfinals hopes in the Olympics with a fighting 4-3 victory over lower-ranked South Africa in its must-win final group match on Saturday. Katariya achieved a rare feat by becoming the first Indian woman hockey player to score a hat-trick (4th, 17th, 49th minutes) in the history of the Olympics.
Other players that scored a goal in the match
Young Neha Goyal (32nd) was the other goal-getter as the Rani Rampal-led side registered its second consecutive win at the Games. South Africa's goals came from the sticks of Tarryn Glasby (15th), skipper Erin Hunter (30th), and Marizen Marais (39th). With two wins from their final two pool matches, India has finished the group stages with six points from five games.
Katariya scored the opening goal for India in fourth minute
Needing a win to stay alive in the competition, the Indians meant business and pressed hard on the South African defense from the start. In doing so, India secured two penalty corners in the first two minutes of the match but drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur's poor execution continued in the tournament. India opened their account in the fourth minute when Katariya scored her first goal.
How Katariya scored and lead India to victory?
Two minutes into the second quarter, Katariya restored India's lead when she deflected in Deep Grace Ekka's flick from their fourth penalty corner. In the 49th minute, a brilliant Katariya saved the day for India when she deflected in Gurjit Kaur's flick from another penalty corner. Thereafter, the Indians fell back and looked content to keep the possession as South Africa pressed hard.
Outcome of Great Britain-Ireland match to decide India's fate
By virtue of this win, India has jumped to the fourth position in Pool A. India's fate now depends on the outcome of the last Pool A match between Great Britain and Ireland. The Indians will have to wait till the evening to know their fate. An Ireland loss or a draw will be enough for India to seal their place in the quarterfinals.