Ranchi, Jan 19: New Zealand defeated Italy 3-1 in a playoff match to secure the fifth position in the Women's FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers here on Friday, salvaging some pride after they failed to make it to the semifinals.
New Zealand were one of the pre-tournament favourites to bag one of the three qualifying spots for Paris 2024 available here. However, they lost to the United States and India and finished third in Pool B.
Rose Tynan (7th min), Olivia Merry (10th min) and Hannah Cotter (31st min) scored for New Zealand while Ivanna Pessina scored the lone goal for Italy in the 21st minute.
On Friday, New Zealand held the upper hand in the match as they dominated possession and launched several good attacks. However, they failed to capitalise on the attacks and missed a number of chances.
The Black Sticks earned penalty corners in the third and seventh minutes, the second one resulting in a goal. Tynan put them ahead in the seventh minute when she struck home a rebound off a penalty corner after the goalkeeper had blocked Olivia Merry's first attempt.
Skipper Olivia doubled the advantage within three minutes when she capitalised on a swift attack to make it 2-0.
Italy fought back in the second quarter when they converted their second PC when Ivanna Pessina scored to make it 1-2.
But New Zealand was not done yet as Hannah Cotter scored in the 31st minute off a fine attack in the 21st minute to make it 3-1 and restore New Zealand's two-goal advantage.
Italy did create some pressure in the third and fourth quarters including a penalty corner in each of the quarters but could not score any more goals.
Earlier, Chile scored a goal in the second quarter and then withstood the pressure exerted by the Czech Republic and emerged as the winner and claimed the seventh position. The Czechs had to be satisfied with the eighth and last spot in this event.
Fernanda Villagran scored the all-important goal off a penalty stroke to give Chile the lead. Chile earned six penalty corners while the Czech Republic could manage only one. (IANS)