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Khelo India: Haryana beat Jharkhand to win girls hockey gold, Punjab third

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A dying moment goal by Anu helped Haryana pip Jharkhand 2-1 to win the Girls Hockey title and gold in the Khelo India School Games at Dhyan Chand National Stadium,New Delhi on Thursday.
 
Interestingly, both the teams were involved in the first and the last match of the competition. 
 
In the  opening league match, Haryana had beaten Jharkhand 4-2 and  though this morning the margin was cut down to exactly half, still Haryana had  the last laugh.      
 
Earlier,  Punjab  survived  some  anxious moments to put it across Chandigarh 5-4 to claim the bronze.  
 
The final turned out to be an engrossing affair with both the teams giving their best to earn the distinction of  winning the inaugural  competition.
 
However,  the victory margin  is not a true reflection of  domination Haryana girls enjoyed.
 
In the first half,  the winners muffed three good chances, two off penalty corners and one solo effort. Jharkhand, on the other hand, earned six penalty corners but failed to convert any of them. At  half time, Jharkhand led 1-0.
 
Haryana strikers Manju and Komal  spearheaded their team's charge but   could not breach the rival’s crowded defence. The winners were rudely rattled in the 32nd minute  when Jharkhand launched a tearing counter attack and in-form Subhani Bhengra made no mistake in sending the ball home  (1-0) after being set up by Beauty Dung Dung.
 
Eight minutes into the second half, Haryana drew parity with skipper Sharmila scoring off a penalty corner (1-1). Spurred by this equalizer, the winners went flat out on  the offensive, forcing their rivals to retreat.
 
Having taken control of the mid-field, Haryana forwards attacked from all sides but the goal eluded them.  Manju, Komal Jyoti made solo attempts only to be foiled by the rival defenders.
 
As time ticked away and the possibility of a penalty shootout loomed large, Haryana struck through Anu, who intercepted a rebound and slammed the ball home (2-1), giving no chance to Jharkhand to retaliate.
 
Haryana coach Nitin Sabharwal later said that his players played well. "We should have won with much higher margin," he said.
 
“We had beaten Jharkhand earlier, we were aware of their tactics and game plan and we planned our strategy accordingly which worked well," he said.
 
Jharkhand team manager Pradeep Mirdha opined, “My  girls played good but  could not convert the chances that came their way."
 
For the third place, three goals by Simranjeet Kaur enabled Punjab quell Chandigarh‘s second half upsurge.
 
For the winners who led 2-1 at half-time,other goal scorers were Baljeet Kaur and Mitali (one each). For the losers, Sonu (2), Barkha and Monu (one each ) scored.      
 
NNN
 
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