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India beat England, enter CWG Men's Hockey final

India defeated England 5-4 on penalty strokes in a stunning semifinal comeback today to move into a Commonwealth Games field hockey final against defending champion Australia. See special

india Updated: Oct 13, 2010 02:52 IST

India produced a lion-hearted performance and came back from two goals down to beat England 5-4 in the penalty shoot in New Delhi on Tuesday and book a berth in the title clash of the men's hockey event in the Commonwealth Games against world champions Australia.

The Indians displayed great character and determination before a packed Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here, to not only make a remarkable comeback into the match but also kept a cool head to convert all their strokes in the shoot out after both the sides were tied at 3-3 at the end of the regulation 70 minutes.

The match was a tight affair can be gauged from the fact that the 15 minutes of extra time also failed to decide the winner, which brought shoot out into action.

In the shoot out, the onus was on Sarvanjit Singh, Vikram Pillay, Sandeep Singh, Arjun Halappa and Shivendra Singh to deliver the goods and they did not disappoint as all of them converted their strokes with precision.

Indian custodian Bharat Chetri also turned out to be a star for India today as he made an all-important save in the shoot out, denying Glenn Kirkham with a brilliant diving save to his right.

Even though Richard Smith, Richard Mantell, Ashley Jackson and Simon Mantell converted their strokes, Bharat's brilliant save clinched India the victory.

India will now face titleholders Australia, against whom they lost 2-5 in the pool stages, in the summit clash on Thursday, while England will take on New Zealand in the bronze medal match.

Tonight's win also gave India their much-awaited revenge over the Englishmen, who beat them 2-3 in the World Cup earlier this year at the same venue.

In the regulation time, India scored through three field goals from Sarvanjit (20th, 60th minute) and Vikram (56th), while England converted three penalty corners through Ashley Jackson (35th, 41st) and Simon Mantell (45th).

As the scoreline suggest, the match was indeed a high-intensity affair from the onset with adrenaline flowing on both sides throughout the encounter.

The Indians were down 1-3 in the match with barely 15 minutes from the hooter but they never gave in. In fact, they showed great fighting spirit to pump in two goals in a span of three minutes to reverse their fortunes.

The opening half was a battle of midfield possession as both the sides tried hard to control the proceedings.

India emerged victorious in controlling the pace of the match initially as their midfield continued from where they left against Pakistan and combined well to ease the pressure on the backline.

The first real scoring chance of the match went to India in the 26th minute when Sarvanjit set it up for Shivendra who, after failing initially with a reverse, pushed the ball wide off the English goal with only custodian James Fair to beat.

In a nighttime match that grabbed the focus in New Delhi, India rallied from a two-goal deficit to level 3-3 in regulation time. Striker Tushar Khandkar twice came close to scoring the golden goal during extra time but England goalkeeper James Fair stood firm under the bar.

Ace penalty corner specialist Sandeep Singh's shot off a penalty corner also went wide during the first half of extra time. For England, Ashley Jackson scored twice off the penalty corners - on either side of the halftime - and also hit the upright off the fourth to miss a hat-trick. Simon Mantell's powerful drag flick off an indirect penalty corner also went into the net as England led 3-1.

But India surged back through Vikram Pillay and Saravanjit Singh's deflection and made numerous attacks in the last five minutes but could not get the match winner.

Saravanjit Singh had shot India ahead off the only first-half short corner in the 19th minute when Dhananjay Mahadik's push was stopped by Fair, but gave enough time to Saravanjit to dab the ball in.

First Published: Oct 12, 2010 20:03 IST