After losing against England in their last league match, the India U-21 Women Team took revenge after beating them by 1-0 in shoot-out to finish 3rd in the Volvo U-21 (Women) Invitational Tournament 2015 held at Breda, The Netherlands.
The hosts, Netherlands defeated China by 5-1 to win the title and Germany edged past New Zealand by 2-1 to finish fifth in 6 team tournament.
India’s goal-keeper Inderpreet Kaur was the hero of the match as she brilliantly thwarted all attempts by the English players during the penalty shootout which helped India clinch the closely fought match and the 3rd position. While, India U-21 Men had lost to England by 0-3 in men’s 3rd place play-off match yesterday.
In the first half of the match, both the teams stepped-on the green astro-turf with an aim to score early and put pressure on their opponents. Gaining experience from their previous Pool match against England, the Indian eves played with surprise attacks along with closely-knit defence line. The Indians this time didn’t want to repeat their previous mistakes in the defence and were marking each player of their opponents. India managed to earn a penalty corner in the first few minutes, but could not convert the crucial opportunity in goal. However, with the continuous attacks, India’s forward Punam Barla sneaked in the opponent’s D and hit the ball into the goal-box to score the first goal of the match in the 31st minute. With this early lead, the Indian Junior women team played with more confidence and kept-on attacking on their opponents’ side till the end of the first half.
The second half saw more aggression from the Indian side as they continued their attacking game. On the other side, England came with some better strategies and looked for opportunities to level the score. After a few attempts, England earned three back-to-back penalty corners but all were thwarted by Indian defence led by goal-keeper Inderpreet Kaur. The English players were playing hard to open their account and tried to keep the ball possession in their side. The match turned into a neck-to-neck battle as both players from both sides pushed themselves hard to score goals. India earned another penalty corner but it was foiled by England custodian Amy Tennant. In the 68th minute, England managed to earn a penalty corner and skipper Hannah Martin successfully converted the equaliser. After conceding the unfortunate goal, the Indian eves fought back with more aggression but could not score any goal till the final whistle and the match went to Penalty Shoot-out.
In the penalty shoot-out, India’s star goal-keeper Inderpreet Kaur saved all the shoot-outs and Deep Grace Ekka scored the winning goal for India. After a hard-fought 70-minute battle and an intense shoot-out, the India U-21 Women team defeated England U-21 Women team by 1-1 (1-0 SO).