Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Riding on Gagandeep Kaur’s superb penalty corner conversion, India piped host Ireland 1-0 to win the Cantor Fitzgerald U-21 International 4-Nations women’s hockey tournament in Dublin on Tuesday .
India ended the tournament with an uneaten record . With three goals in four games, Mumtaz Khan was the highest scorer of the Tournament.
In a tentative y first quarter both teams played attacking game, but created few opening without making use of them.
Ireland won a succession of penalty corners but India’s defence and Bichu Devi in goal foiled all the attempts.
In the second quarter India dominated the turf but it was the hosts who created all the penalty corner chances, and had another midway through the quarter, which was saved by Bichu Devi.
Though the visitors attacked the rival citadel , it was the their two defences that really stood out through the encounter. And it was due to their resilience that first half ended in a stalemate.
India played to their plan in the second session , defending strongly and attacking on the counter . In a tough-fought third quarter they earned their their first penalty corner at the end of the period. Gagandeep Kaur made no mistake slotting the ball home to give India a valuable lead .(1-0) which turned out to be the winner
Ireland made furious start in the final quarter , and went into attacking without regard for safety. India, on the other hand crowded their defence that soaked the pressure, and hit them on the counter when the opportunity presented itself.
Ireland forced three penalty corners in this quarter, but each of them was thwarted by a resolute Bichu Devi and the defenders as the visitors held on to that slender lead to win the title.