The Indian men’s hockey team clinched the bronze medal at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup after a comfortable 4-0 win over New Zealand in the 3rd/4th classification match on Saturday.
Rupinder Pal Singh scored a brace to give India a 2-0 lead in the first half, before goals from SV Sunil and Talwinder Singh wrapped up the victory.
India made a bright start to the match, creating a number of opportunities in the first quarter putting New Zealand on the backfoot.
However, the Indian side failed to convert the two penalty corners they were awarded in the opening quarter.
It was, however, a different story in the second quarter.
Akashdeep Singh was quick to win India their third penalty corner at the start of the quarter with some good dribbling skills in the circle.
Rupinder Pal Singh ensured this chance didn’t go begging with a well-timed flick sending it low on the right to beat New Zealand goalkeeper Richard Joyce and give India a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute.
India kept the Malaysian spectators entertained with a thrilling charge made by Mandeep Singh who raced into the striking circle only to assist Akashdeep with a square pass, with the final attempt helping India win their fourth penalty corner.
Joyce made a good attempt to save Rupinder’s flick but the umpire awarded India another penalty corner due to dangerous play.
This time Rupinder used a familiar tactic of sending the ball low on the right that worked like magic, beating Joyce yet again, clinching India a splendid 2-0 lead in the 27th minute.
This was Rupinder Pal Singh’s third goal in the tournament.
India scored their third goal of the match in the 48th minute when Mandeep Singh set up Sunil with a brilliant square pass.
Sunil was impressive as he beat defender Cory Bennett to convert a sensational goal taking India’s lead to a comfortable 3-0.
Manpreet Singh was involved in winning India their fourth goal when he made a baseline pass to Talwinder Singh who was spot on with his strike taking India’ tally to a comprehensive 4-0, sealing the bronze medal for his side.
Earlier on Friday, India had failed to qualify for the final of the tournament after a 1-0 defeat at the hands of hosts Malaysia.
Favourites Australia will face Great Britain in the final of the tournament.