India squandered a two-goal advantage to go down 3-4 to last edition’s runners-up Germany in a thrilling FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup 2023 match here.
Annu (11’), Ropni Kumari (14’), and Mumtaz Khan (24’) were the goal scorers for India, while Sophia Schwabe (17’), Laura Pluth (21’, 36’), and Carolin Seidel’s (38’) found the net for Germany on Thursday.
India quickly settled into a passing rhythm, dominating the game in the opening quarter by controlling possession and continuously testing Germany’s defensive line.
But despite its early efforts, India was thwarted by Germany’s sturdy defence, which prevented them from scoring until the closing minutes of the quarter.
It was during this period of sustained pressure that the Indian team secured consecutive penalty corners, and Annu capitalised on the second opportunity with a powerful shot, finally putting her team in the lead.
Shortly after breaking the deadlock, India further solidified their position as Ropni found the net with a well-executed shot from another penalty corner to give them a 2-0 lead after the first quarter.
Germany, determined to turn the tide, approached the second quarter with renewed zeal. Their efforts bore fruit as Sophia scored an impressive field goal, reducing the deficit for Germany.
Building on this momentum, Laura fired a powerful strike to level the score. However, India swiftly responded as Mumtaz skillfully put the ball past the opposition’s goalkeeper, shifting the momentum back in India’s favour and putting them in front again as they went into the half-time break with a 3-2 lead.
Determined to maintain their lead, India prioritised ball possession in the third quarter, yet Germany managed to level the score. Laura struck for the second time, equalising the game.
Motivated by its resurgence, Germany intensified its attacks, seizing the lead with Carolin’s goal from a penalty corner.
India increased its frequency of attacks. But, despite its efforts, the score remained 4-3 in favour of Germany by the close of the third quarter.
The final quarter witnessed an aggressive display from both sides, with Germany coming close to extending their lead.
However, Indian goalkeeper Madhuri Kindo’s exceptional save in a one-on-one situation denied Germany a chance to extend its lead.
Meanwhile, India earned consecutive penalty corners in the dying minutes but failed to convert. The fourth quarter concluded without any goals.
The Indian team will next take on Belgium in its third match of the tournament on Saturday.
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