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"Give Savita Punia the Bharat Ratna" - Twitterati heap praise on Indian goalkeeper after team beats New Zealand 2-1 to win CWG 2022 bronze medal

India's Savita Punia in action against New Zealand. (PC: Getty Images)
India's Savita Punia in action against New Zealand. (PC: Getty Images)

Savita Punia led from the front and made scintiilating saves as India won the bronze medal, beating New Zealand in a pulsating shootout, at the ongoing Commonwealth Games 2022 (CWG 2022).

Savita Punia, true to her moniker of Save-ita, stood like a rock in front of the goal to deny New Zealand as the Indian women's hockey team won 2-1 (1-1 after regulation time).

Sonika and Navneet Kaur scored for India in the shootout while Salima Tete scored in the 29th minute of open play.

The bronze medal is India's third at the Commonwealth Games, coming after a gap of 16 years. India won the gold medal in the 2002 edition and the silver medal in the 2006 edition.

After Savita Punia's breathtaking saves in the shootout, Indian fans took to social media to congratulate her and the team for winning the bronze medal.

Read: CWG 2022: Avinash Sable breaks national record again, wins silver medal in 3,000m steeplechase event

As Savita Punia made the last save, the Indian bench broke out into a frenzy with wild celebrations and happy tears and the players lifted head coach Janneke Schopman along with Savita Punia to culminate a rewarding campaign.

Fans lauded Savita Punia as a legend of Indian hockey while some even wanted her to be offered with the Bharat Ratna.

Here are some of the reactions.

Savita Punia: Captain, leader, Legend of Indian Women's hockey. https://t.co/oxgZyUAJ8N
PV Sindhu, Savita Punia, Nitu Ghanghas..Across sports, so many stars. India's women athletes are doing us proud.
Captain Savita Punia, take a bow 🙌🙏A Hockey 🥉 for our #WomenInBlue after a 2️⃣-1️⃣ win in the Penalty Shootout 🇮🇳🔥👏#B2022 #CWG2022 #TitansOfTheGames
Give Savita Punia the Bharat Ratna!!
This team is just so special ❤️ Goosebumps & tears of joy!! This bronze means so much👏🏾🇮🇳 Congrats ladies, each one of you is a superstar⭐️ #India #Hockey #BronzeMedal #CWG2022India https://t.co/2uu5I9xvot
Savita Punia - The Great Wall Of India In Women's Hockey 💯🙏🫡Take A Bow 💯❤️Outstanding Play By India Women's Hockey Team 🔥🤯Congratulations For 🥉 Medal After 16 Years 🥺#CWG2022 #CWG #Hockey
SAVE-ITA PUNIA YOU LEGEND!
#CWG2022 #B2022 #Hockey IT HAD TO BE. IT HAD TO BE.LADIES & GENTLEMEN, SAVE-ITA! Bronze... and a superb bronze. One that this team so deserved.scroll.in/field/1029925/… https://t.co/KeSlwAWaWa
SAVITA PUNIA THE LEGEND 🙌
SAVITA, YOU LEGEND 🥳🥳🥳India wind bronze medal 🥉in women's hockey after defending NZ in shootout#CommonwealthGames2022 #Hockey #SavitaPunia
Last 18 seconds were just unbelievable!
#Hockey#CWG22 ,#SavitaPunia Thanks God🙏Today clock ⌚⏰ is started. We all are feeling it's Gold , not a bronzeWell done India's "Shreni". https://t.co/5NAYipfO77
@virendersehwag Savita Punia deserved to be the one to bring the win. Excellent work. Bronze it is! 🇮🇳🥉
I never thought watching hockey would be so fun and thrilling. It's not for the faint hearted. Indian women's team are freaking awesome. Match going Down the wire, freaking saves from #SavitaPunia Punia, brilliant goals by Navneet. #IndianHockey #femaleathletesofindia
Savita Punia 🔥 the Greatest Of All Time 🛐 https://t.co/SPISUkWGgI
What an outstanding work by Savita at shoot out 💪 Time to cherish #Hockey #CommonwealthGames22 #SavitaPunia #RuknaNahiHai https://t.co/p00ksXXRhc
SAVITA PUNIA is 🔥🔥🔥🔥. Terrific player !!! Conceded just one goal in penalty shootout. The calm and composure she showed at the time is unbelievable. Well done Girls .#Indianhockeyteam #CommonwealthGames2022

CWG 2022: Savita Punia-led team concede goal in last minute of regulation time

The Indian women's hockey team were on cue and let for 59 minutes of the match, before a foul in the last minute gave New Zealand a penalty corner, and subsequently, a penalty stroke to come back into the match.

New Zealand's Olivia Merry converted the penalty stroke and pushed the match to the shootouts.

Also read: CWG 2022: "Your medal calls for celebrations, not an apology"- PM Modi cheers dispirited bronze medal-winning wrestler Pooja Gehlot

India owned the match for most parts of the game. The players had good coordination among themselves and also created a host of chances.

New Zealand could have gone ahead early in the match but Nisha made sure there was no trouble. New Zealand would have rued a missed opportunity as Savita Punia was way out of her line.

However, it was only a matter of time before India took the lead. Salima Tete latched on to a pass from Navneet Kaur and beat the Kiwi goalkeeper with a splendid reverse scoop. The Indians could have finished the job seconds earlier too had Sharmila connected cleanly at the near post. New Zealand went for a review to check for a backstick shot but the umpire upheld the goal.

India tried a variation in their first penalty corner of the match but Udita's shot was blocked on the line by an agile Kiwi defender.

India continued to press hard as Neha Goyal and Navneet Kaur played an excellent one-two on the right flank. Neha did well to dribble and send a weak pass across but no Indian striker was on cue to take the pass.

New Zealand almost restored parity when Olivia Merry tapped a pass into the goal. The Indian team went for a referral and were successful as the goal was disallowed as New Zealand did not take the ball five yards behind after getting a free hit.

New Zealand got another chance when their striker came face-to-face with Savita Punia but the Indian goalkeeper averted any danger. The ball went to Olivia Shannon, who missed from close range.

Both teams lived dangerously in the final quarter, with India creating more opportunities through back-to-back penalty corners, but the scoreline remained intact.

New Zealand pressed hard in the final few miuntes but were unable to breach Savita Punia, who stood like a rock in the Indian goal.

New Zealand removed their goalkeeper as an extra player in the final four minutes and with India's Lalremsiami getting a yellow card in the final few minutes for not playing to the whistle, New Zealand got the extra push.

Neha Goyal made a foul in the dying minutes of the game as New Zealand got a penalty corner and with Navneet Kaur committing another foul, a penalty stroke was awarded to New Zealand with just 10 seconds left on the clock.

Olivia Merry converted a penalty stroke and pushed the match to the shootouts.

Also read: CWG 2022: Ravi Dahiya, Naveen, Vinesh Phogat clinch gold on Day 9, Indian wrestling contingent wrap up with 12 medals

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Edited by Prasen Moudgal
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