India’s Jr. Women team beat Ireland 1-0 in the Final of the Cantor Fitzgerald U21 International 4-Nations.
The win meant India ended the tournament with an unblemished record and took the title. With three goals in four games, Mumtaz Khan was the Highest Goal Scorer of the Tournament.
In a cagey first quarter both teams went through dominant phases of play, but created few clear chances to open the score.
Ireland won a succession of PCs right at the end of the quarter, but despite the pressure, India’s defence and Bichu Devi in goal ensured they went into the break goalless.
The second quarter played out to a similar script as the first, but over the course of the period, India started asserting more of themselves into the game.
Ireland though were the ones creating all the PC chances, and had another midway through the quarter, which was saved by Bichu Devi.
Despite the quality of attacking play, it was the two defences that really stood out through the encounter. And it was their resilience that meant both teams went into half-time locked in a stalemate.
India played to their plan after half time, defending strongly and attacking on the counter while resisting the urge to go forward in numbers.
In a tough-fought third quarter they got their reward for their resilience, winning their first PC right at the end of the period.
Gagandeep Kaur responded at the first time of asking, slotting home to give India a valuable lead right at the death.
Ireland came out for the final quarter with their backs to the wall, and forced into attacking without regard for safety.
India, on the other hand were happy to sit back and soak the pressure, and hit them on the counter when the opportunity presented itself.
Ireland created three PCs over the period of the final quarter, but each of them was thwarted by a resolute Bichu Devi and the Indian defence, to ensure that the team ended up with a clean sheet.
Gagandeep’s goal proved to be the difference between the sides, as India prevailed 1-0 and took the title.