Indian eves reached the quarterfinals of the Women's World Hockey League after they beat Chile 1-0 in their pool encounter played at Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Preeti's lone goal in the 38th minute ensured India registered their maiden win in the tournament after a goalless draw against South Africa and 1-4 loss to mighty USA in their previous matches.
Both the teams traded penalty corners in the first quarter with Chile winning the first in the fourth minute of the match while India earned their first short corner in the 12th minute but nothing came off from the opportunities.
Though it seemed like India had scored off the rebound when they earned another penalty corner in the 12th minute through a successful video referral, the goal was denied as it came off the body and not the stick.
In the second quarter, Chile managed to create some but that didn't stop India from creating scoring opportunities. One such chance came in the 19th minute when Anupa Barla brilliantly stole the ball from a Chilean player, setting up a counter attack, to find Rani in the striking circle but the striker missed the post by inches.
After a barren first half, India finally made a breakthrough when Rani and Preeti worked in tandem. The duo drove into the rival striking circle and Preeti produced the finishing touch with a quick nick to put the ball past the Chilean keeper in the 38th minute.
India mounted pressure on Chile with consistent attacks and Rani got another shot on goal, only to be denied by the Chilean goalkeeper. Soon after, Renuka Yadav found herself on the bench with a yellow card forcing India to start the fourth quarter with 10 players. Chile thus far had made zero attempts on goal despite 17 circle penetrations while India made 16 penetrations with five shots on goal.
The final 15 minutes saw some tense moments with Chile making desperate attempts to break the Indian defence. Barla, meanwhile, did well to beat the first defender and then find a Chilean foot to win India another penalty corner in the 54th minute but their variation failed to yield desire result.
Chile, on the other hand, won back-to-back penalty corners in the 55th minute but India did well to defend and keep a clean slate. India will take on Argentina in their final Pool B match on July 16.