Haryana girls ride on Deepika’s brace for golden finish

Sports Reporter
Sunday, 20 January 2019

Haryana rode on striker Deepika’s two third quarter goals coming in a space of three minutes to win the Girls Under-17 hockey gold medal beating Jharkhand 2-1 in an edge-of-the-seat final in the Khelo India Youth Games at the National Defence Academy Ground in Khadakvasla on Saturday.

Pune: Haryana rode on striker Deepika’s two third quarter goals coming in a space of three minutes to win the Girls Under-17 hockey gold medal beating Jharkhand 2-1 in an edge-of-the-seat final in the Khelo India Youth Games at the National Defence Academy Ground in Khadakvasla on Saturday.

But for those two lapses in the third quarter, Haryana was given a tough time by Jharkhand, who came close to scoring in the last quarter but the eventual winners survived the scare in one of the keenly contested match of the competition.
 
Jharkhand put up a determined show and though they were beaten, the motely fans cheered on Jharkhand, which settled for the silver medal.

Story of muffed chances
Jharkhand muffed chances and paid the penalty despite dominating the first quarter and they had fair share of ball possession in the second quarter, but failed to make use of the advantage.

Haryana girls defended well and made incisive counter moves. Four minutes into the second half Deepika gave Haryana the lead with a superb field goal and three minutes later she made it 2-0 with another opportunistic goal.

Jharkhand tried hard to score but time and again their strikers let go the chance. However, just before the final whistle Prini Kandir converted a chance that came her way to score (1-2), but it was a case of too little too late.

In the morning, Odisha warded off a determined Punjab to emerge 3-2 winners to claim the bronze medal.

The battle for third place was bitterly fought and the 60-minute match turned out to be a thriller.

For Odisha, who led 3-1 at half time, the goal scorers were Sunita Xaxa, Jyoti Chhatri and Nimabati Singh. Chewang Tamang and Simranjeet Kaur scored a goal each for Punjab.
  
Odisha started with flourish pounding the Punjab goal thrice in a space of nine minutes. Sunita Xaxa put her team in the lead with a superb goal in the fourth minute and two minutes later the lead went up as Jyoti Chhatri scored off a penalty corner (2-0).

Odisha further consolidated the lead in the 13th minute with Sonia Topno intercepting a cross and sending the ball home leaving goalkeeper Simran Chopra stranded (3-0) and Punjab looked heading for a big defeat.

After that Punjab went on the offensive and put tremendous pressure on Odisha, who crowded their defence to protect their two-goal lead.
 
Punjab took over the midfield and launched flurry of attacks but found it hard to breach the populated defence.

Seven minutes before the final whistle Simranjeet  cut through couple of defenders to send the ball home (2-3) and that was all they could do as Odisha managed to hold on to the slender lead.

The final of the Women’s Under-21 will take place on Sunday wherein Jharkhand go up against Haryana at 9 am, while Punjab will be facing Odisha in the bronze medal match at 7 am.

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