Haryana beat Jharkhand to win Girls hockey; Punjab third in KISG
A goal in the dying moments of the match by Anu helped Haryana pip Jharkhand 2-1 in the Girls Hockey final and take the gold at the first Khelo India School Games at Dhyan Chand National Stadium. It was Jharkhand, who struck first and led 1-0 at half time, but Haryana girls struck back later.
A little over a week ago, these two teams had kicked off the tournament, and they were pitted against each other in the final as the tournament came to an end. In that first league encounter, Haryana had beaten Jharkhand 4-2 and they did the same but by half the margin.
Earlier Punjab survived some anxious moments to put it across Chandigarh 5-4 to claim the bronze.
The final turned out to be an engrossing affair with both teams playign their hearts out. Yet, it was Haryana, who had the better of exchanges, though the winning margin was not a true reflection of the domination the Haryana girls enjoyed.
In the first half the winners muffed at least three good chances, two of them being through penalty corners and one solo effort. Jharkhand, too, earned six penalty corners but failed to convert any of them.
Haryana strikers Manju and Komal spearheaded their teams charge but were unable to breach their rivals’ crowded defence. The winners were rudely rattled in the 32nd minute when Jharkhand launched a tearing counter attack and the in-form Subhani Bhengra made no mistake off a pass from Beauty Dung Dung to make it (1-0) and that was the margin at half time.
Eight minutes into the second half Haryana drew parity with skipper Sharmila scoring off a penalty corner 1-1). Motivated by this equaliser, the winners went flat out on the offensive.
Having taken control of the mid field, Haryana forwards attacked from all sides, yet the goal eluded them. Manju and Komal Jyoti made solo attempts only to be foiled by the rival defenders.
As time ticked away and possibility of penalty shootout loomed large, Haryana struck through Anu who intercepted a rebound and slammed the ball home to make it 2-1 giving no chance to Jharkhand.
Haryana’s coach Nitin Sabharwal said that his players played well, but added, “We should have won with much higher margin. We had beaten Jharkhand earlier, were aware of their tactics and game plan and we planned our strategy accordingly which worked well.”
Jharkhand team manager Pradeep Mirdha opined, “My girls played good but could not convert the chances that came their way.”
In the match for bronze medal, three goals by Simranjeet Kaur enabled Punjab quell Chandigarh‘s second half upsurge.
Punjab led 2-1 at half time. Apart from Simranjeet (3), the other goal scorers were Baljeet Kaur and Mitali (I each). For Chandigarh Sonu (2), Barkha and Monu were the scorers.