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Hockey World League Final: Inconsistent India go down 2-3 to England

Sam Ward struck in the dying minutes as England beat India 2-3 in their second Pool B match of the FIH Men’s Hockey World League Final in Bhubaneswar. Akashdeep Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh scored for the Indians

other sports Updated: Dec 02, 2017 22:47 IST
Sharad Deep
Sharad Deep
Hindustan Times. Bhubaneswar
Hockey World League Final,HWLF,FIH Hockey World League
Sam Ward (centre) of England celebrates with teammates after scoring the winning goal against India during their FIH Men's Hockey World League Final pool match in Bhubaneswar on Saturday. (PTI)

Inconsistency continued to haunt India on Saturday as they lost 2-3 to lower-ranked England in a Pool B match of the Hockey World League Final (HWLF) in Bhubaneswar. (IND vs ENG highlights)

The way India, the sixth ranked team in the world, played against world No. 1 Australia in their opening game for a 1-1 draw had raised expectations that the hosts would dominate England. But, the Indians couldn’t take control of the tempo of the match, while Sam Ward’s stunning goal in the dying minutes sealed it for England.

The match started with a dull first quarter with both the sides sitting back and no clear attacks on goal. India struggled from the very start -- poor trapping forcing them to lose possession -- something that haunted them in the second quarter as well.

Things changed dramatically minutes before the end of the second quarter as an unmarked David Goodfield found the first goal for England. Custodian Suraj Karkera almost saved the push, but it zoomed into the net after kissing his pads.

Second-half push

There was some change in India’s approach after half-time. The hosts started to foray more into the English D and midfielder Chinglensana Kangujam had a clear shot from the top of the circle in the 34th minute. However England custodian Harry Gibson cleared the hit by diving to his right.

Soon after, a defence lapse saw India go down 0-2. Sam Ward made no mistake in pushing the ball home, beating goalkeeper Suraj after last-line defender Harmanpreet Singh failed to intercept a long cross sent by England defender Luke Taylor.

After wasting back-to-back penalty corners in the 43rd minute, India got one back through Akashdeep Singh, who pounced on a return from England goalkeeper Harry’s pad after a penalty corner hit in the 47th minute. Rupinder Pal Singh then equalized in the 50th minute, darting the ball in style on the team’s fifth penalty corner chance.

In the dying minutes of the fourth quarter, when the match looked like it was heading for a draw, Ward struck an amazing goal (57th minute), dodging a bunch of defenders.

India’s poor conversion rate of penalty corners proved costly. They will play their last league match against Germany on Monday. In the other Pool B match, Germany and Australia split points with 2-2 draw.

Day of upsets

Earlier, the morning session brought out a couple of upsets as Belgium and Spain shocked Olympic champions Argentina and European champions the Netherlands respectively.

In Pool A , Belgium brushed aside Argentina 3-2, while Spain surprised the Netherlands by a similar margin.

Loick Luypaert (9th), Amaury Keusters (51st) and Tom Boon (56th) scored the three goals for Belgium, while Maico Casella (52nd) and Gonzalo Peillat (57th) reduced the margin for Argentina.

SUNDAY’S MATCHES

Belgium vs Spain at 5.30 p.m.; Netherlands vs Argentina at 7.30 p.m.