New Delhi: India had a good Thursday on the hockey field as both the men's as well as the women's team qualified for the two separate finals of the ongoing Olympic qualifiers at the National Stadium here.
While the men were already assured of a place in the summit clash, even before their 4-2 win against Poland, Indian eves downed Italy 1-0 in a must-win match.
The scorelines in both matches may reflect an easy passage of play for the hosts but on the field, the teams had to work hard for their respective wins.
Poland made India earn all the goals scored as Sandeep Singh converted from two penalty corners. Despite dominating possession, India were denied early on by Polish custodian Mariusz Chyla, who was brilliant and denied the Indians on numerous occasions.
Apart from Sandeep, experienced striker Shivendra Singh (59th) and V R Raghunath (65th) scored the other goals for India.
In the match played minute before, Indian women were resisted by a determined Italian defense. The two teams engaged in dramatic competition to strike at each others goal. Italy needed a draw to progress and were going by the book. Their dreams were shattered in the 52nd minute when Ritu Rani converted a penalty corner.
The Indians then did a decent job of fending off the Italian counter-attack to keep the scoreline intact and ensure a summit clash against South Africa.
Women's final willl be played on Saturday evening while the men's final will take place on Sunday.
(With agency inputs)