The Indian junior girls have really stepped up their game in the 9th Junior Women’s Hockey World Cup at Potchefstroom. Teeming with confidence after a stunning 2-1 win over redoubtable Germany, the Salima Tete-captained Indian outfit overcame a sluggish start to pull off a 4-0 win over Malaysia and marched into the quarterfinals with an all-win record. The early exchanges was a scrappy affair with both teams engaging in not-so-great hockey. India was slow off the blocks engaging in a lot of misspasses.
The Erik Wonink-coached Indian side enlivened the tedious state of affairs, drawing first blood via Mumtaz Khan after it grazed the stick of Lalrindiki along the way. The talented girl from Uttar Pradesh tapped home after she made the most of a precise drill-in pass from Preeti. As time wore on, India asserted themselves in the midfield with the likes of Phalke Vaishnavi Vithal, Preeti, Baljit Kaur and Reet putting up an impressive performance.
The floodgates seemed to open as India scored another within one minute when Sangita Kumar slotted home from close range. India maintained their stranglehold over Malaysia, lapping up a 3-0 lead after Lalrindiki lunged to her left, deflecting home a pass from Reet to ensure India went into half-time in the comfort zone. India could have enhanced the lead but Deepika was unlucky as her power-packed drag-flick off a short corner hit the crossbar.
Mumtaz Khan scored a superb goal, tumbling to her right as India added to the tally in the final minute of play. it was Mumtaz’s fourth goal fo the tournament. India would now face South Korea in the quarterfinals on Friday – the Korean qualifed for the last-eight stage despite losing by a solitary goal to Austria.