|February 24th, 2012|
|15||Pool A||6:00pm||ITA - IND||0 - 1 (0 - 0)||Final|
This last match of round-robin would decide which team would join South Africa in the Final on Saturday: Italy just needed a draw to go through, when India absolutely needed a win to take the second spot in the standings.
The Indians immediately attacked the Italian circle and had their first penalty-corner in the 10th minute. Roberta LILLIU in the Italian goal stopped the initial shot, and a few subsequent ones in close succession. She was again called into action a few minutes later, stopping an Indian attacker at the top of the circle, and clearing her own rebound amongst the Indian players.
Italy forced two penalty-corners in a row but could not capitalize either. The Indians kept pushing, but were attacking in less structured manner now, players trying too often to make the difference individually and making it easier for the Italian defense to break their attacks. Half-time was reached with no score and Italy starting to believe in their chance to reach the Final.
The scenario was similar in second period, India throwing everything they could towards the Italian goal, but to no avail. They scrambled a penalty-corner and, with time passing, became more and more desperate. With everybody up-field, they depleted their defense and exposed themselves to the rare Italian attacks. Italy forced a penalty-corner on one of their lone incursion in Indian territory, but Alessia PADALINO’s shot was deflected wide, much to the relief of the local crowd.
India finally scored with fifteen minutes to go, Ritu RANI batting into goal the high rebound from a penalty-corner. The Italian argued the ball was played high in the air, but the goal stood and the emphasis was suddenly on Italy to create goals. PADALINO had another chance on penalty-corner, but it was deflected wide.
India weathered the final Italian push, with two more penalty-corner attempts, to protect their narrow one-goal lead that qualifies them for the Final tomorrow against South Africa. Italy will play for 3rd place against Ukraine.
Player of the Match was Roberta LILLIU, goal-keeper for Italy.