“Frustrated and angry” by the ‘clock howler’ during the Indian women’s hockey team’s controversial Commonwealth Games semifinal loss to Australia, coach Janneke Schopman said her side was left deflated and lost momentum after the incident.
The Hockeyroos set up the gold medal clash against England after a controversial 3-0 win over India on penalties here on Friday.
During the shootout, Australia’s Rosie Malone missed her shot but to the dismay of the Indian team and fans, the forward was given a second chance as a technical official, B Morgan of England, had failed to start the clock on time.
Each player gets eight seconds to put the ball into the net in the shootout.
Given a second chance, Malone scored and that set the tone for the shootout as the Indians failed their first three attempts, while Australia converted all their chances.
“After that, we lost a little bit of our momentum. Then it did go in, and everyone is deflated,” Schopman, a double Olympic medallist said.
“I’m not using it as an excuse, but when you make the save, that’s an enormous boost for the team and you turn the decision around and the girls are really upset about it,” she added.
Narrating the incident, she said: “The official’s hand was up, but I didn’t really know and the umpires — A Church and H Harrison of England — also did not. So, that’s why I’m frustrated because the umpires said we have to retake it.”
“I tried to calm them down. In hindsight it’s 50-50 but I’m sure their focus was lost a little bit after that moment,” a frustrated Schopman said.
The match had headed to penalties after both the teams were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation time.
“It’s all human and all emotion. Should we be better? That’s what I was trying to say, ‘girls it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter’. But of course it does matter and of course I am angry also because I don’t think even the officials understood what happened.
“They said it’s not our decision. I said ‘Australia are not complaining, they know they’ve missed it, it was easily 10 seconds and they got the opportunity to score’.”
“I think those people just don’t understand the game and the emotions that are involved.”
India captain Savita Punia, however, played down the incident and said: “Maybe it was our hard luck in the shootout. We saved the first goal in the timeout but we’re told that the timer didn’t start only.
“This definitely played a part in the players’ psychology. But we have learnt from our coach that all these things are part of the game. We tried to bounce back.”
“Definitely, I’m sad about this. But I’m proud of the girls for making a comeback from being 0-1 down against a team like Australia. We had decided at half-time to go for that one goal and the team executed it perfectly.”
Savita said their initial reaction was shock and disbelief.
“Of course, we are human beings. Yes, the next moment we realise that we cannot change it, can’t give an excuse and can’t fight for it. It happens sometimes.
“It was tough and we had to move on. But when we came to know about this, we thought how could this have happened? It has never happened in my career. It was a first for me,” she added.
India will now play New Zealand in the bronze medal playoff on Sunday.