India advanced to the semi-final of the FIH Olympic Qualifier here on Tuesday when hosts India defeated Italy 5-1. Udita Duhan marked her historic 100th international appearance with a double goal that moved her country closer to a Paris ticket.

With two wins from three games, the Indian team finished second in Pool B behind the undefeated United States. The goal scorers for the Indian team were Udita (1st minute, 55th), Deepika (41st), Salima Tete (45th), and Navneet Kaur (53rd).

On Thursday, the USA will play Japan in the semifinals, while India will play Germany, the team that won Pool A. Three teams will advance to the Olympics in Paris.

Salima and the small Neha Goyal managed the midfield affairs, while Udita was a rock in the back.

Similar to their previous encounter, India got off to a fantastic start as the home team won the opening minute.

India picked up where they left off, pressing hard and attacking the puck right away. Sangita Kumari pushed Italy goalkeeper Lucia Ines Caruso to make a nice save just a few seconds into the game.

A fully extended Caruso padded away Sangita’s reverse hit from the top of the circle, but India’s subsequent effort resulted in their first penalty corner. Additionally, Udita gave the hosts an early lead with a precisely timed slap stroke.

Just 50 seconds remained in the first quarter when Italy was awarded their first penalty corner, giving them a chance to tie the score. However, India responded with a counterattack that gave them a chance to score.

Caruso stopped Beauty Dung Dung’s close-range attempt after Sonika made a great run from the left and dribbled past a few players.

Sangita secured India’s second penalty corner two minutes into the second quarter, but the Italian defense held Udita at bay this time.

The Indian defenders continued to do a great job of stopping Italy’s chances, playing flawlessly throughout the day. Throughout the first two quarters, the Italians were unable to muster a clear opportunity to score because of the excellent play of the back line, which was captained by Savita Punia, the goalkeeper.

Salima Tete and Lalremsiami worked brilliantly together from the right wing three minutes after the change of ends to set up a gorgeous ball for Jyoti inside the circle, but she was unable to make a solid connection.India quickly won their third penalty corner, but Salima’s push was not stopped by Monika.

After being hauled down by goalie Caruso, an astute Lalremsiami lurked in front of the Italian circle and pounced on a stray ball to earn a penalty shot for India. Deepika took the stand and gave India a 2-0 lead with a flawless penalty kick.

With barely 50 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Salima increased the lead by beating Caruso with a shot that went into the top of the Italian net from the right corner. Navneet made the score 4-0 seven minutes before the final whistle, thus ending Italian dreams of a comeback.

She executed a fantastic move to evade five Italian defenders who were closing in from the right flank in preparation for a counterattack. Italy won two consecutive penalty corners minutes later, but they were unable to get past Savita in front of the Indian goal.

Two minutes into the game, Udita sealed the victory for India with another penalty corner, capping off an incredible performance. Just before the final whistle, Camila Machin converted a penalty corner to give Italy a consolation goal.