Olympic qualifiers: India halfway down the London road

Nishad Vellur/Zeenews Sports Bureau

New Delhi: Sandeep Singh, who missed two Penalty corners, earlier in the match, came to India’s rescue later by converting two in the second half to stay undefeated in the hockey Olympic qualifier tournament. The 3-2 victory against a tough Canadian team at the Dhyan Chand stadium on Wednesday meant India moved a step further on the road to London Olympics.

Even though India dominated much of the first half, it met stiff competition from one of the stronger sides in the tournament. The presence of Sardar in the midfield made things worse for the opponents. He was later adjudged the player of the match. The fierce pace of the Indian players troubled the competitive Canadian team, who tried to trap Indians with man to man marking.

India started off in their usual style. The attack in the 3rd minute didn’t bear fruit when Sandeep failed to convert a penalty corner. Canadian goalkeeper Antoni Kindler was not kind enough to let Sandeep Singh open the account. He faced a similar dilemma in the 18 th minute but mistimed and failed to convert.

All that went up in smoke when he scored India’s second, this time he beat the Canadian keeper with ease. Later in the 61st, he netted one comfortably. India were already out of the danger zone then.

Like India, Canada too missed some scoring opportunities in the game. In the 8th minute, Mark Pearson came close to the goalmouth but hit the bar to add to their misery. For the Canadians, Mark Pearson and Scott Tupper scored one each in the 50 th and 52nd respectively. India continue their top position in the table, and will enjoy a day’s break before they meet Poland on Friday.