Khelo India U-21 Women's Hockey League: India Juniors vault to top of pool with third big win

Image Source: ANI

New Delhi [India], December 19 (ANI): India Juniors delivered object lessons in focus and teamwork in scoring a 6-0 victory over Him Hockey Academy (Vikas Nagar, Himachal Pradesh) to displace Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High-Performance Centre at the top of Group A in the Khelo India U21 Women’s Hockey League at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here in New Delhi.

The National team, which scored its third successive win, secured some help from Sports Authority of India B to take the top spot in the pool. SAI B defeated Odisha Naval Tata HHPC by the odd goal in five to spoil the Bhubaneswar side’s bid to keep its slate clean after four matches. Of these three teams with 9 points each, India Juniors alone has an all-win record.

The two key matches in Group A on Saturday were studies in contrast. India Juniors packed too many punches for Him Hockey Academy’s comfort, with Lucknow-born Mumtaz Khan scoring four of her team’s six goals. The other match was an intensely fought affair between two evenly balanced outfits eager to take the second spot behind the National U21 team.

Mumtaz Khan, who rose from a very modest background to be a livewire on the pitch, opened the scoring for India Juniors in the 12th minute. She added a second field goal six minutes into the second quarter. Baljeet Kaur’s penalty corner strike just before the half-time sandwiched Mumtaz Khan’s four goals. Deepika completed the tally before the hooter went off.

SAI B had to strain its every sinew to keep its nose ahead of Odisa Naval Tata HHPC in a riveting contest. In each of the first two quarters, SAI B took the lead only to see the Bhubaneswar side bounce back and draw level. A penalty stroke scored by Vinamrata Yadav in the 50th minute proved to be the winner for SAI B.

In a clash between two Haryana-based teams, HAR Hockey Academy rallied from a goal behind to edge out Pritam Siwach Hockey Academy 2-1, Preeti scoring both goals in the span of two minutes. Its third win in as many matches saw HAR Hockey Academy vault past Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy, which has seven points from three matches, to the top of the pool. (ANI)

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