Germany’s Sophia Mayen is fondly called an opportunist by teammates. On Saturday, the teenager didn’t let go of an opportunity to score the match-winner in the final against New Zealand in the Lal Bahadur Shastri four-nation under-21 women’s hockey tournament that concluded at the National Stadium.
After both teams were locked 2-2 in regulation time, Mayen sounded the board in the opening five minutes of extra-time, which helped her team walk away with the day’s honours.
Ecstatic after scoring the golden goal, Mayen said it will further cement her position in the national team as well as enhance her profile back home. “It’s a proud moment for me,” the 18-year old said after the hard-fought victory. For her efforts, she was also rewarded with the ‘player-of-the-match’ title.
Germany shot into the lead early, but New Zealand retaliated to level the score 1-1. They even overpowered Germany to take a 2-1 lead in the first quarter of the second half. The lead was short-lived as Germany came back to make it 2-2 all.
In the opening five minutes of extra time, Mayen rose to the occasion. Team coach Marc Herbert said: “The win will also act as a great motivating factor for the team members who are looking ahead to the 2013 World Cup.”
In the India-Australia tie, the hosts outplayed the latter 3-2 to claim bronze. India skipper Poonam Rani was awarded the ‘player-of-the-match’ title. Impressed by Neha Goyal’s performance, the youngest member of the India team, the Sun Foundation announced a monthly scholarship of R10000 to her. It will be for one year.
Final: Germany 3 (Viola Scharf 11th min, 45th, Sophie Mayen 76th (golden goal) bt New Zealand (Pippa Hayward 35th, Julia King 43rd); Third place: India 3 (Poonam Rani (37th, Anupa Barla 42nd, 65th) bt Australia 2 (Brooke Peris 32nd, Kate Gilmore 41st).
PTI adds from Johur Bahru: Forward Talwinder Singh was given a two-match suspension for being involved in a scuffle as the India under-21 hockey team lost the bronze-medal match to Korea 3-4 in the Sultan of Johor Cup. Malaysia beat Australia 3-2 to win the title.