Defending champion Haryana, playing true to its form, retained the title by beating Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy (MPHA) 2-0 in the final of the ‘A’ division in the fourth Hockey India junior women’s national championship, played at the Chamundivihar astro-turf grounds here on Sunday.

The Haryana eves dominated proceedings from the start and went into an early lead in the eighth minute through centre-forward Narinder Kaur, who deflected the ball into goal off a cross from the right flank.

Rakhi Prajapathi of MPHA got a good chance to equalise in the 12th minute, but shot wide with an empty goal in front of her.

Narinder Kaur, Neha Goyal, Jyoti Gupta and Navpreet Kaur impressed for Haryana and moved in tandem to take control of the game.

Haryana skipper Neha scored an excellent field goal in the 40th minute to make it 2-0. The MPHA girls tried hard to make a comeback and forced two penalty corners, but both went begging. Haryana held on to the lead and retained the title in style.

In the playoff for third place, Jharkhand beat Odisha 3-1 (via penalty shoot-out) after being tied 0-0 at full-time. Kanti Pradhan, Sitamani Topno and Rajini Soreng scored for Jharkhand, while Sarojini Ekka scored for Odisha.

The prizes were given away by MLC M.C. Naniah and K Govindaraju, president, Karnataka Olympic Association.

The results: Final: Haryana bt Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy 2-0; Third place playoff: Jharkhand bt Odisha 3-1 on penalties (FT: 0-0).

Special Prizes: Player of the tournament: Jyoti Gupta (Haryana); Best forward: Priyanka Wankhade (MP Hockey Academy); Best midfielder: Rajini Soreng (Jharkhand); Best defender: Rashmita Minz (Odisha); Best goalkeeper: Nisha (Karnataka).

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