Odisha women's team has won its first-ever gold in Senior Nationals as they blanked Karnataka 2-0 in the final of the 12th Hockey India Senior Women's National Championship.
The final was a closely contested affair as both Hockey Karnataka and the Hockey Association of Odisha started well.
They created several goal-scoring opportunities throughout the match. However, solid defensive performances from both sides ensured that the match went into half-time with the two teams locked goalless.
Punam Barla (34') opened the scoring in the match in the third quarter as the Hockey Association of Odisha picked up the lead. Ashim Kanchan Barla (59') sealed the game with a late goal as the Hockey Association of Odisha beat Hockey Karnataka 2-0 to claim the Championship.
Expressing his delight after the title win, Hockey Association of Odisha head coach Edgar Joseph Mascarenhas said, "We did not take Hockey Karnataka lightly. Even though we missed a couple of chances, we played well and had a lot of ball possession which was our game plan. We dominated the ball in midfield. We scored a goal in the third quarter to put them under pressure and then we closed the game with a late goal."
He also went on to credit the senior players in the team for holding the team together in crucial situations.
"We had set ourselves very positively coming into this tournament. We practiced really hard, twice a day in the heart of Odisha. We played to our strengths throughout the entire tournament. The senior players really held the team together and our Goalkeeper played magnificently on the field," he said.
Earlier, Hockey Jharkhand defeated Hockey Haryana 3-2 in the third-fourth place match. The thrilling contest saw Dipti Toppo (28') open the scoring for Hockey Jharkhand, followed by goals from Albela Rani Toppo (40'), and Betan Dungdung (43'). Amandeep Kaur (55') and Bharti Saroha (56') scored a goal each for Hockey Haryana to take the game to the wire.
(With IANS Inputs)