New Delhi, 11 December: India displayed remarkable resilience to register a thrilling 3-2 victory against the USA in sudden death following a dramatic penalty shootout, after the game had ended 2-2 in regular time, to finish ninth at the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup in Santiago
In the regular 60 minutes, Manju Chorsiya (11’) and Sunelita Toppo (57’) scored a goal each for India, while Kiersten Thomassey (27’, 53’) netted a brace for the USA.
The tense penalty shootout witnessed Mumtaz Khan and Rutaja Dadaso Pisal successfully converting their chances for India, while the latter also scored in sudden death to secure the win for India. On the opposing side, Katie Dixon and Olivia Bent-Cole managed to score for the USA in the penalty shoot-out.
India dominated the start, pressing the USA relentlessly and penetrating their defense multiple times. Manju Chorsiya's (11’) perfectly placed goal from the first penalty corner gave India a well-deserved lead in the game. Buoyed by this advantage, India continued their aggressive play, keeping the USA under constant pressure.
However, the USA still managed to win a penalty corner in the very last minute of the quarter but failed to capitalise on that as the opening quarter concluded with India leading 1-0.
Aiming to retain their lead in the second quarter, India focused on ball possession while consistently penetrating the USA's circle. Despite their efforts, the USA defended solidly, thwarting rival's attempts to widen the gap while launching counter-attacks themselves. This tactic proved effective when Kiersten Thomassey's (27’) precise strike levelled the score, showcasing the USA's resilience.
Eager to reclaim their advantage, India launched a barrage of attacks in the third quarter, relentlessly pressuring the USA's defense. Despite several near misses, including from a penalty corner, India couldn't convert their opportunities into goals.
At the start of the fourth quarter, India earned an early penalty corner, yet their efforts to convert it fell short. Surprisingly, it was the USA who seized the opportunity against the run of play, as Kiersten Thomassey (53’) netted her second goal, putting her team in the lead. With time slipping away and the score against them, India escalated their offensive efforts.
Their determination paid off when Sunelita Toppo (57’) levelled the score with a brilliantly placed shot from a penalty corner, bringing them back into contention.
The match eventually ended with score tied at 2-2, thus entering penalty shootouts, which witnessed both teams managing to convert two shots each, hence leading the game into sudden death, where India’s goalkeeper Madhuri Kindo made an outstanding save, while Rutaja Dadaso Pisal calmly converted her shot to help India win the match 3-2.