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The Kiwis celebrate after scoring a goal against Australia in the final of Women's Hockey at the Major Dhyanchand National Hocke
Hockeyroos successfully defend CWG gold

Australia successfully defended their Commonwealth Games crown, defeating a spirited New Zealand 4-2 via tie-breaker in the final of the Women's Hockey event at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium today.

Contrary to the result, the Kiwi girls showed great fighting spirit and came back twice from a goal down to deny title holders Australia victory in the regulation time. However, in the shootout Australia came out on top and kept a cool head to convert four out of their five shots, while the Kiwis could manage only two. Australia converted their first two shots through Ashleigh Nelson and Megan Rivers while Katie Glynn and Krystal Forgesson turned out on the wrong side for the Kiwis in the shootout.

New Zealand had to settle for the Silver while England ran away with the Bronze, defeating South Africa 1-0 through a Georgia Twigg goal in the third-place play-off match earlier in the day.

The final between Australia and New Zealand witnessed a neck-and-neck fight between the Trans-Tasmanian rivals with both the teams locked at 2-2 after the 70 minutes, which forced the encounter into the extra time and then the tie-breaker. Nicole Jessica Arrold (9th minute) and Nelson (59th) scored for Australia while New Zealand levelled the scores twice through Samantha Harrison (48th) and Clarissa Eshuis (70th).

The Kiwi girls, however, were far from impressive in the opening half and were guilty of holding on to the ball. The Aussies, on the other hand, penetrated New Zealand defence on a number of occasions but failed in finishing. The Australian eves were the first to score in the ninth minute from their first penalty corner through Arrold. Australia could have doubled their lead in the 16th minute from their second short corner but their variation try was first saved by New Zealand goalkeeper Beth Jurgeleit and then cleared away by a defender. Down by a goal, New Zealand came out with purpose in the second half and enjoyed more ball possession than the Aussies but what did them in was finishing.

The Kiwi eves' effort finally bore fruit in the 48th minute when Harrison drew parity with a variation from their fifth short corner. But Australia restored their lead 11 minutes later from a short corner after Nelson scored from a goalmouth melee. Despite the goal, the Kiwi girls, however, completely dominated their opponents in the last 10 minutes of the match.

Australia captain Blyth was a happy woman after the victory and she said the Hockeyroos lived up to their own expectations as they came into the Delhi Games with eyes firmly set on defending their title.

“Absolutely, we are delighted because coming into the tournament we hoped we will win the gold. But I must say it was a tough game. New Zealand gave us a tough fight. They played really well,” Blyth said after the match.

New Zealand skipper Kayla Sharland credited her teammates for the fighting display but said luck was on the other side in the final.

“We were little unlucky, we fought hard. We were down by a goal twice but came back strongly. We got plenty of chances to score but couldn’t convert them,” a disappointed Sharland said. - PTI