Hockey World Cup: India crash to second successive defeat via another late goal
The Hague (Netherlands): India crashed to their second defeat in the men`s hockey World Cup by conceding a late goal yet again to go down 1-2 against England at the Kyocera Stadium here on Monday.
England prevailed through a 69th-minute penalty corner rebound conversion by Simon Mantell. India had an equal run of play against England, and even saw a penalty stroke being cancelled, paving the way for England`s victory. Ashley Jackson?s penalty corner shot was blocked by goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh, but Mantell capitalised on the rebound by sending a diagonal reverse shot into the net to leave the Indian players crestfallen in the dying moments of the game.
India had lost their opening game against Belgium 2-3 after conceding a goal with seconds left to the final hooter. England opened the scoring in the 26th minute through Mark Gleghorne?s penalty corner conversion, and India equalised through Dharamvir Singh in the 30th minute.
Australia, who today defeated Spain 3-0, are at the top of the Group A table with six points from two successive wins against Malaysia and Spain. After being held to a 1-1 draw in their first game by Spain, England now have four points from two matches. India had the run of play at the start and forced their first penalty corner in the 11th minute, when the ball was carried by a England defender inside the circle. The foul was not noticed by the umpire, but India made a referral and the foul was confirmed. It led to penalty corners being awarded two more times before India wasted the opportunity as the push was not stopped properly and Manpreet`s attempt to continue the attack saw the ball soar over the cross-bar.
India mounted another move on a counter, but Dharamvir`s cross could not be utilised by Akashdeep Singh in the 20th minute. At the other end, Indian goalkeeper Sreejesh padded away a shot from Dan Fox. India then came close to scoring in the 23rd minute on another Dharamvir cross to Mandeep Singh, but he sent the cross high in haste.
An unnecessary obstruction on the 25-yard line by Yuvraj Walmiki gave England their first penalty corner, which was converted by Mark Gleghorne with a rising shot.
Indian equalised on a move initiated by captain Sardar, who put Dharamvir in possession on top of the circle and he turned around to send the shot into the net. India`s lapses inside the circle conceded two penalty corners on either side of interval, but they did well thereafter to stay on level terms.
Walmiki had a good chance to put India in the lead in the 41st minute when he had a clear look at the goal from top of the circle, but was stick-checked from behind and the umpire blew for a penalty stroke. England appealed against the penalty stroke, saying the defender was going for the ball and not blocking the striker?s stick, which was upheld and the penalty stroke was cancelled.
India again posed danger to the England goal in the 51st minute when Walmiki got a cross from S.V. Sunil on the left and his reverse shot went just wide of the mark. A shy at the goal by Sardar was deflected out in the 63rd minute and Dharamvir opened the rival defences with a fine run down the right flank. Dharamvir`s cross was picked up by Mandeep Singh, whose push was blocked by the goalkeeper but the ball came back to him and the second attempt hit the right post in the 65th minute.
England made a last gasp attempt to force their way into the Indian circle, and benefited from a stick-check that conceded the fourth penalty corner that led to the goal in the 69th minute. Midfielder S K Uthappa completed his 50th international cap in what turned out to be another disappointing match for the Indians. They next play Spain on Thursday.