SAI B quells Him Academy challenge; Deepika scores second hat-trick

Image Source: ANI

New Delhi [India], December 16(ANI): Sports Authority of India B beat back a stiff challenge by Him Hockey Academy (Vikas Nahar, Himachal Pradesh) 3-2 to secure its first win in Group A in the inaugural Khelo India U21 Women’s Hockey League (Phase 1) at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here in New Delhi.

In earlier matches, Deepika scored her second-trick in as many days as the India Juniors team posted its second straight win with an 8-1 verdict against Raja Karan Hockey Academy (Karnal) while Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High-Performance Centre (Bhubaneswar) outplayed Mumbai Schools Sports Association 11-0 to keep its slate clean.

Sports Authority of India B showed resilience after Wednesday’s 0-6 defeat by India Juniors and quickly found cohesion and rhythm despite being a squad that has players from across the country and trained together for less than a week. But eager to showcase their talent, each of the players put the best foot forward.

Reema Baxla, an India Junior probable from Jharkhand in 2019, scored off a penalty corner to give SAI B the lead in the second minute. Him Academy exerted pressure on the SAI B defence but could not break through. Against the run of play, Mary Lotla, tracing her roots to Yellamchiili near Visakhapatnam, struck with a field goal just ahead of the half-time.

Taranpreet Kaur scored four minutes into the second half to raise visions of a keen battle but Vinamrata Yadav, Uttar Pradesh junior captain in 2018, managed to loop a reverse hit from the top of the circle over the goal-keeper to put SAI B 3-1 ahead. Taranpreet Kaur scored off a penalty corner early in the fourth quarter but could not stop SAI B from earning full points.

Sadhna Sengar scored three times in Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy’s 8-0 victory over Jai Bharat Hockey Academy (Delhi) in a Group B match that showcased the Bhopal team’s superior fitness and staying power. A day earlier, Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy rallied through a late goal by Neeraj Rana to split points with Pritam Siwach Hockey Academy (Sonipat). The Bhopal team led through Sadhna Sengar’s goal at half-time, conceded two through Disha and Tamanna in the third quarter but earned a draw with two minutes left. (ANI)

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