In-form striker Subhani Bhengra struck once in each half as Jharkhand pipped a spirited Punjab 2-1 to set up a title clash with Haryana in the Girls Hockey competition of the Khelo India School Games at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Earlier in the first semi-final, Haryana trailing 0-2, staged a remarkable come back to overpower fancied Chandigarh 4-3. Interestingly, Haryana had beaten Jharkhand 4-2 in the first league match of the competition.
Punjab and Jharkhand girls played a fast and combative game worthy of a semifinal. It was a tense match as the two teams battled it out for supremacy. In the end, it was Jharkhand who capitalized on the chances that came their way while Punjab were left ruing the opportunities they missed. Punjab had the major share of the ball and their forwards dominated the midfield for most of the times but it was Jharkhand which took the lead in the 21st minute as an unmarked Subhani latched on to a cross, cut past couple of defenders to send the ball home (1-0). The lead lasted barely six minutes as Punjab fought back to draw parity through captain Baljeet Kaur (1-1). Punjab then had two chances to take the lead but once the ball hit the post off a penalty corner and then a forward shot over the open goal.
Jharkhand while defending well kept on making incisive forays and three minutes before the final whistle, Subhani struck again to seal the match for her side. A dejected Punjab coach Gurinder S Sangha said We had a greater share of the ball, the girls played well but it was not our day. It was a fiercely contested game.".Jharkhand coach Pratima Barwa was all praise for her girls saying, We played to a plan and we deserved to win."
In the morning, Chandigarh squandered a two-goal lead as Haryana rallied from behind to emerge winners. Kirandeep converted a penalty corner in the 21st minute and three minutes later Akshita Yadav made it 2-0 for Chandigarh.Haryanas retaliation was fast and furious as they reduced the gap in the very next minute through Manju and two minutes before interval, drew parity with skipper Sharmila scoring a fine goal.Haryana scored two quick goals in the next half, in the 36th and 39th minutes through Sharmila and Anu to make it 4-2. Amritpal reduced the margin for Chandigarh four minutes before the hooter.
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