Three-nations tournament: Winning start for India junior women

The Indian junior women's team starts its campaign with a 2-0 win over New Zealand.

India next plays Australia on Thursday. Representative Image: Biswaranjan Rout

The Indian junior women's hockey team began its sojourn in the Three-Nation tournament on a winning note, defeating New Zealand 2-0 here on Wednesday. Striker Lalrindiki and midfielder Prabhleen Kaur scored the goals for India.

India was aggressive right from the start. Thanks to its dominance in the opening quarter, it won an early penalty corner in the third minute but it failed to utilise the chance. A defensive lapse from New Zealand then handed India a golden opportunity at the stroke of the quarter break and Lalrindiki found herself with enough space in front of the goal to slot the ball home in the 15 minute.

New Zealand had a chance to equalise early in the second quarter from a penalty corner, but Indian goalkeeper Bichu Devi Kharibam made a good save. The two teams battled for possession in the middle of the park but neither could create any clear chances, meaning India retained its one-goal advantage at the half-time break.

Exciting chances

The third quarter was filled with some exciting chances for both sides. First, the Indian team was awarded with two penalty corners at the start of the period. But India couldn't extend its lead; there was a shot off-target and a brilliant save from New Zealand goalkeeper Kelly Carline.

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New Zealand also won a penalty corner at the end of the third quarter, but India’s defensive line stood firm.

In the fourth quarter, New Zealand desperately searched for the equaliser. Some close moments in the last 15 minutes saw India defend well against one more penalty corner in the 48th minute.

With 30 seconds remaining on the clock, India was awarded yet another penalty corner and this time Prabhleen made no mistake, slotting the ball home to secure the win.

India will play host Australia in its second match on Thursday.