Pro Hockey League: India hammer New Zealand 7-4

Published on Nov 04, 2022 09:50 PM IST

The hosts were trailing 1-3 early in the match but then turned things around in fine fashion

Indian hockey team(@TheHockeyIndia)
Indian hockey team(@TheHockeyIndia)
By, New Delhi

Down 1-3 in the first quarter, India brilliantly turned it around by playing fast, attacking hockey for a 7-4 win against New Zealand in their Pro Hockey League encounter in Bhubaneshwar on Friday.

It hardly took a minute for New Zealand to expose the weak Indian defence. After receiving a cross from his right, a calm Simon Child made enough space in a scattered defence to slot home. Jolted by the early goal, India pressed ahead and earned a penalty corner. Harmanpreet's first shot was saved by the New Zealand goalkeeper but the captain converted the third PC, firing a low flick to level the score.

But India's defensive frailties were exploited again as New Zealand scored two quick goals through Lane Smith (8min) and Jake Smith (13th). As the first quarter came to an end, the Kiwis led 3-1.

India came back a rejuvenated side in the second quarter, injecting pace into their play and making individually brilliant moves. The seasoned Manpreet Singh split open the New Zealand defence with a pass and young Karthi Selvam (16th) showed good skills to score. Two minutes later, Harmanpreet (18th) converted another penalty corner to make it 3-3.

India, then, proceeded to dominate the match. The start of the second half saw Pal Raj Kumar (30th) giving the finishing touch to an excellent dribble from Abhishek. The hosts were suddenly dictating the flow of the game with some exquisite play and the New Zealand defence looked to be in shambles. An opportunist strike by Karthi (37th min), who incredibly intercepted a defender's overhead shot with his raised stick before beating the goalkeeper, piled on the agony.

Sukhjeet Singh (49th min) deflected another Manpreet through ball while Jugraj Singh (52nd min) converted a penalty corner. Nic Woods got a consolation goal for NZ, converting a penalty corner in the 53rd minute.

It was India's second win over New Zealand having beaten them 4-3 last week. The home team then lost to Spain 3-2.

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