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2018 Commonwealth Games: India men’s hockey team loses to New Zealand in semis

India went down 2-3 against New Zealand in a tense hockey semi-final at the 2018 Commonwealth Games 2018 on Friday.

other sports Updated: Apr 13, 2018 20:21 IST
B Shrikant
B Shrikant
Gold Coast
Commonwealth Games 2018,Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018,Gold Coast 2018
Hugo Inglis of New Zealand (2nd L) celebrates with teammate Aidan Sarikaya after scoring against India during their men's field hockey semi-final match at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on Friday (April 13). (AFP)

The game is about scoring goals and the Indian men’s hockey team did not do that enough here. Profligacy has been a bug that has bothered Indian hockey for long and it came to haunt Sjoerd Marijne’s squad as it failed to put it across a lower-ranked New Zealand, losing the semi-final 2-3 against a team they had beaten twice in New Zealand a few months ago. (HIGHLIGHTS)

It came down to who scored on the day and New Zealand were superior in that department, capitalising on the limited number of chances that came their way. (CWG 2018 FULL COVERAGE)

India, on the other hand, dominated possession, 52-48%, penetrated the circle 30 times as compared to 18 by the Black Caps and earned nine penalty corners as compared to three by their rivals.

Drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh scored both the goals for India (30th and 56th minute) while Hugo Inglis (7th), Stephen Jenness (13th) Marcus Child (40th) were successful for New Zealand.

India started off well and it was forward Mandeep Singh who got the first chance in the second minute but fired it wide. India also earned the first penalty corner in the next minute but Harmanpreet’s shot was blocked by goalkeeper Ruchard Joyce.

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Three minutes later, New Zealand went ahead when Inglis dispossessed Harmanpreet, drove into the circle and put a powerful reverse hit past goalkeeper PR Sreejesh. The Black Caps made it 2-0 a few minutes later when when Jared Panchia controlled the ball after a poor trap by Manpreet Singh and set up Jenness for a goal.

India were struggling after that as they created a number of chances but failed to capitalise.

“The story of the tournament is that we had enough penalty corners, we created enough chances but didn’t score off them,” coach Marijne said after the match.

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“It is important to see the reality. In the last five months we didn’t create so many chances as we did now. I am happy about that. We have to keep working on scoring,” he said.

Marijne was satisfied that his boys improved with each match. “Yes, we were a bit unlucky. You do need luck for winning.”

Of course, the players too have to do their bit for luck to smile on them. On Friday, the Indians did not do enough.

India’s main problem on Friday was in defence as it lacked stability in the absence of the seasoned Rupinderpal Singh, who sat out with a hamstring injury. Rupinder is out for six weeks and coach Marijne needs to rework his backline for the bronze medal match.

First Published: Apr 13, 2018 17:24 IST