Keeping its slate clean, India recorded its second successive win against New Zealand in the 3-nation Canberra Tournament for Junior Women. India beat New Zealand 4-1 win to maintain its position at the top of the table with seven points from three games. India had beaten New Zealand 2-0 in the first game before playing a 1-1 draw with the hosts Australia in the second.
New Zealand ended its engagements with 3 points from three games. It had won the opening game against Australia but lost the return game to the hosts yesterday. India will need only a draw against the hosts Australia to win the tournament. Australia has one win, one draw and one loss in earlier games.
The Indian team continued its fine form as it defeated New Zealand 4-1 in its third match of the competition. India came from a goal down to defeat its opponents after New Zealand’s Olivia Shannon (4′) had scored for her side. It was Sharmila Devi (12′, 43′), Beauty Dungdung (27′) and Lalrindiki (48′) who scored the goals for India in its impressive victory.
In a shaky start to the match, India conceded a penalty corner in the 4th minute, and New Zealand made the most of it as it scored through Olivia Shannon to make it 1-0 in its favour. However, India tried to fightback inside the first quarter, and was successful in finding the equalizer when Sharmila Devi finished off a crisp team-move to make it 1-1 in the 12th minute. Both teams had several chances in the second quarter as well, but neither could convert until India finally managed to convert its penalty corner in the 27th minute. It was India’s forward Beauty Dungdung who produced a sublime finish to give her team a much-deserved lead.
New Zealand did have a penalty corner at the stroke of the half-time break but India’s Bichu Devi Kharibam made a decent save to ensure India retained its 2-1 lead at the interval. The start of the third quarter was slightly slower for both teams as they tried to implement different strategies. India’s goalkeeper Bichu was called into action again in the 40th minute and she made a diving save to protect her side’s lead. Three minutes later, it was India’s chance to break away on the counter which saw Sharmila Devi score her second field goal to extend India’s lead to 3-1.
The confidence levels rose within the Indian team after scoring its third goal, and it was visible in the last quarter when it started aggressively. In the 48th minute, India won a penalty corner, and the resulting execution saw young Forward Lalrindiki score past New Zealand’s goalkeeper Kelly Carline to make it 4-1, and secure the win for her side. New Zealand did try to pose a threat in the remaining minutes, but could not penetrate through the Indian defense which meant India registered its second win in three matches of the 3-Nations Tournament.
The Indian team will play its fourth and final match of the 3-Nations Tournament on Sunday.