The Indian junior women’s hockey team clinched the Cantor Fitzgerald U21 International 4-Nations title after beating Ireland 1-0 in the final here on Tuesday. The win meant India ended the tournament with an unblemished record.
With three goals in four games, Mumtaz Khan finished as the highest goal scorer of the tournament.
In the first quarter, both teams played well and created few clear chances. Ireland won a succession of Penalty Corners right at the end of the quarter, but despite the pressure, India’s defence ensured they went into the break goalless.
The second quarter played out to a similar script but over the course of the period, India started asserting more.
Ireland though were the ones creating all the PC chances. They had another midway through the quarter, but it was saved by Bichu Devi.
Despite the quality of attacking play, it was the two defences that really stood out through the encounter. The teams went into half-time locked in a stalemate.
India played to their plan after the half time, defending strongly and attacking the counter while resisting the urge to go forward in numbers.
In the third quarter, India got their reward for their resilience, winning their first PC right at the end of the period. Gagandeep Kaur responded at the first time of asking, slotting home to give India a valuable lead.
Ireland came out for the final quarter with their backs to the wall and forced into attacking without regard for safety.
India, on the other hand, were happy to sit back and soak the pressure and hit them on the counter when the opportunity presented itself.
Ireland created three PCs over the period of the final quarter, but each of them was thwarted by a resolute Bichu Devi and the Indian defence, to ensure that the team ended up with a clean sheet.
Gagandeep’s goal proved to be the difference between the sides, as India prevailed 1-0 and took the title.