Hockey: Keeper Bichu helps India past Germany

Riding on goalkeeper Bichu Devi Kharibam‘s heroics India downed favourite Germany 2-1 to record their second successive win in pool D of the Hockey Women's Junior World Cup in Potchefstroom South Africa

Hockey: Keeper Bichu helps India past Germany
Hockey: Keeper Bichu helps India past Germany

NEW DELHI: Riding on goalkeeper Bichu Devi Kharibam‘s heroics India downed favourite Germany 2-1 to record their second successive win in pool D of the Hockey Women's Junior World Cup in Potchefstroom South Africa, on Sunday

Lalremsiami (2') and Mumtaz Khan (25') scored a goal each in India's win. Jule Bleuel (57’) reduced the margin for Germany.

India surged ahead in the 2nd minute when they were awarded a penalty corner.  Though Deepika’s drag flick was saved by the German goalkeeper Mali Wichmann, on the rebound  Lalremsiami used the space she had to send the ball into the cave (1-0).

Rattled by this early reverse  Germany went on the offensive and the Indian defence came under tremendous pressure but goalkeeper Bichu Devi Kharibam came up with an exceptional showing as she foiled all German attacks and frustrated their moves.

The second quarter was action-packed with Germany, who had beaten Malaysia 10-0 in their opening match, bringing their tactical expertise and composure to work their way into India's circle. An infringement by the defence in the 22nd minute saw the Germans being awarded a penalty stroke.

This was perhaps their best chance to equalise but  Bichu Devi with a phenomenal save denied the Germans an equaliser.

Only minutes later, Mumtaz Khan converted a swift goal, once again through a penalty corner variation that was brilliantly executed  (2-0).

Germany kept the pressure on and they created chances in the last five minutes of the second quarter where they created two crucial PCs. But again Bichu Devi stood between them and the goal.

Overall, Germany had 27 circle penetrations and 22 shots on goal.

The third quarter saw India on top gear as they attacked the German half with lethal speed and strategic counterattacks but they could not find success from these efforts. While they could have extended the lead by another goal or two, they could not quite convert from these chances.

Germany bounced back in the final quarter with Jule Bleuel scoring a fine field goal from the top of the circle in the 57th minute.

While it looked like the Germans could have equalised, India held their nerves in the tense final moments to keep the lead and seal their quarterfinals berth.

Awarded the Player of the Match for her incredible performance, an elated Bichu Devi expressed, "It was amazing to make the penalty stroke save. It was an exciting match and we are happy to have won this."

(Harpal Singh Bedi)