New Delhi: India kept themselves in the hunt for the knock-out stage after eking out a hard-fought 3-2 win over Canada in a Pool C match of the Hero FIH Junior Men`s hockey World Cup, here on Saturday.
India had started as favourites but they had to toil hard at the floodlit Major Dhyan Chand Stadium as twice the hosts had to come from a goal down to grab three points.
Drag-flicker Gurjinder Singh scored the winner for India in the penultimate minute of the match after Mandeep Singh (30th) and Akashdeep Singh (5-th) sounded the nets to level the scores.
For Canada, Sukhi Panesar (3rd) scored from a field effort while Gordon Johnston made use of their lone penalty corner in the 51st minute
India now need to beat Korea in their final pool match to secure their quarterfinal berth.
Both India and Korea are on three points each from two outings but Korea has better goal difference than the Indians and only a draw in their last match would be enough for them to pip the home team and go forward.
With two wins out of as many games, Netherlands have already qualified for the quarterfinals from Pool C. Netherlands edged past Korea 3-2 to book their place in the quarterfinals of the event.
Against Canada today, the Indians were in for a rude shock early in the match as Canada stunned the handful of spectators present at the ground striking in the third minute through Panesar, who capitalised on a defensive lapse to slot home the ball after Brenden Bissett’s initial shot struck the corner of the Indian goalpost.
Thereafter it was all India as they dominated the entire opening half and created chances after chances but only to see them go abegging.
The Indians got their first scoring chance in the 10th minute but Malak Singh`s deflection from Pradeep Mor’s cross from the right flank tantalisingly sailed past the Canadian goal.