GOLD COAST, APR 11
The Indian men’s hockey team scored two goals in the final three minutes to overcome England 4-3 in a thrilling match to top Pool B and enter the semi-finals of the 21st Commonwealth Games here on Wednesday.
Manpreet Singh (32nd), Rupinder Pal Singh (51st), Varun Kumar (58th) and Mandeep Singh (59th) scored for India while England got their goals from David Condon (17th minute), Liam Ansell (52nd) and Sam Ward (56th).
Following the win in their final Pool B game, India have 10 points – three more than second-placed England.
It was tussle to the top spot in Pool B and the two teams lived up to the billing with entertaining hockey, pushing each other hooter-to-hooter.
Though India were quick to attack with Gurjant and Lalit Upadhyay taking shots on goal in quick succession only three minutes into the first quarter, England upped the ante soon after with Mark Gleghorne creating a goal scoring opportunity as he helped win the first penalty corner for England.
However, Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh was stunning in his effort to pad-away Gleghorne’s fiercely-struck flick.
England though dominated the proceedings in the first and second quarter with disciplined structure, keeping the ball for longer spells, and came up with good man-to-man marking that kept the Indian forwards in the hunt to create space.
England struck first in the 16th minute when Mark Gleghorne opened-up the counter attack racing into the right flank, a strong cross to Adam Dixon saw him assist goal-scorer David Condon who came up with a brilliant backhand shot to convert and give England a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute.
An Indian infringement in the following minute saw England win their second penalty corner of the match, but Sreejesh was unrelenting yet again, stopping and clearing Gleghorne’s flick.
India’s wait for an equalizer finally ended in the 33rd minute when skipper Manpreet Singh struck from the top of the circle after a good assist from Mandeep Singh, who couldn’t take a shot on goal himself with two English defenders tackling him.
Earlier though a penalty corner opportunity was lost out by India when Harmanpreet Singh’s drag-flick was obstructed by England’s first rusher.
The 1-1 equaliser ensured the third and the fourth quarter would be fought with great vigor and that’s exactly what transpired.
India continued to dominate the third quarter as Rupinder Pal Singh earned India the much-needed 2-1 lead when he converted a penalty corner in the 50th minute. But defensive errors in the circle saw India give away two crucial PCs soon after. England, meanwhile, punished India for their mistakes as Liam Ansell and Sam Ward swiftly converted PCs in the 52nd and 56th minute respectively, snatching a 3-2 lead. But the action continued with India putting up an aggressive front.
Akashdeep Singh helped India win a penalty corner in the dying minutes of the match, with India pulling out the goalkeeper to add an extra man to their attack, the tactic worked with Varun Kumar finding the equaliser with a well-struck drag-flick.A powerful pass from Manpreet that sliced into the top of the circle was deflected into the goal by Mandeep ending the match with winning points taking their total tally to ten points in Pool B.
India take on New Zealand on Friday.
GOLD COAST, APR 11