UP pays for inability to convert chances

Haryana warded off a spirited challenge from Uttar Pradesh to record a 1-0 win and retain the trophy in the 39th National women’s (under-20) hockey championship, organised by the Indian Hockey Federation, at Gachibowli Complex here on Wednesday.

The match-winner came in the 33rd minute when Reena Rani pounced on a rebound off a penalty-corner hit by Neeru, and banged the ball home.

In the first half Uttar Pradesh showed tremendous exuberance and the forwardline, comprising captain Kavita Mourya, Kiran Kumari and Akrithi Choudhary, put up a spirited display.

UP earned four penalty-corners in the first 20 minutes but all came to naught due to poor finishing.

Haryana fought back mainly through its defenders Harpreet Kaur and Reena Rani and the untiring Aditi on the right flank. Aditi’s fast runs and excellent coordination with captain Narinder Kaur often tested the rival defence.

Despite all the hard work, the poor finishing by Uttar Pradesh girls, especially their inability to convert penalty-corners ultimately proved very costly. The closest UP came to scoring a field goal was when Kavita essayed a reverse flick on the move in the 27th minute of the first session from the left of ‘D’ only to miss the target by a whisker.

The first session was an evenly contested one but with two minutes left for the break, Haryana got that golden opportunity and made the most of it. After that goal by Reena Rani, Haryana was in control all through the second session. There were just a few brief moments when UP forwards did threaten to level the scores, but Haryana managed to hold firm.

In all, UP earned nine penalty-corners while Haryana got six. Clearly, a disappointing display on top of the ‘D’ was the reason for UP finishing runner-up.

Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan gave away the prizes.

The result: Final: Haryana 1 (Reena Rani) bt Uttar Pradesh 0.

Third place: Mumbai 4 (Nimmy Nair, Ruqqaiya Shaikh, Tanaz Mohammed 2) bt Karnataka 1 (Sri Raksha).

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