The Indian junior women’s team tasted its first loss of the competition on Sunday, going down 1-2 to hosts Australia in the fourth match, but still won the 3-Nations hockey tournament after finishing top of the points table.
India finished with seven points from four matches, ahead of hosts Australia on goal difference, with New Zealand finishing third with only three points from their four matches.
In the final match, Gagandeep Kaur scored the solitary goal for India in the 53rd minute to cancel out Abigail Wilson’s 15th minute strike. However, the Australian youngster scored yet again in the 56th minute to give her team a 2-1 win.
It was a difficult first period for the Indian team as they were constantly put under pressure by the hosts. The visitors had some chances of their own inside the first 15 minutes but they failed to make the most of them.
In the 15th minute, Australia were awarded a Penalty Corner, and it was Abigail Wilson who stepped up for the hosts to make it 1-0.
India tried to make up ground in the second quarter, but some resolute defending by the home team meant that the visitors could not equalize inside the second quarter.
The Indians had a Penalty Corner in the 22nd minute, but could not force it on target. Another Penalty Corner came India’s way in the 26th minute but Australia’s Hannah Astbury made a diving save to help her team retain their one-goal lead.
Two minutes later, Australia had a glorious chance of extending their lead to two goals through a Penalty Stroke, but India’s Goalkeeper Bichu Devi Kharibam made a fine save to keep the score down to 0-1 at the half-time break.
Both the teams had chances through Penalty Corners in the third period, but some good defending by both the sides meant that the outcome of the match would be decided in the last period. India had a couple of Penalty Corners in the third period but were denied by Australia’s Astbury.
However, the start of the fourth quarter was different for India as they put the hosts under pressure from the start, and that resulted in the visitors winning themselves a Penalty Corner in the 53rd minute.
It was Gagandeep who stepped up to take the execution, and scored past Astbury to equalize for India.
But India could not stay on level terms for too long as three minutes later, it was Australia’s Abigail who scored her second goal of the match through a Penalty Corner to snatch a 2-1 lead.
India tried to equalize for the second time during the remaining four minutes, but could not make the most of their chances as Australia registered a 2-1 win.