India took a solid 4-1 lead in the match with Mandeep Singh (13′, 22′) scoring a brace and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay (3′) and Harmanpreet Singh (46′) scoring a goal each. But Nicolas Bandurk (47′, 53′) scored a brace, and Liam Ansel (42′) and Philip Roper (50′) scored a goal each, earning England a point from the match played at the university. Here Birmingham Hockey and Squash Center K and maintained their top spot in the Pool B table.
Graham Reid’s squad owed their authority to the home team, which was a more aggressive team with 36 entering the attacking circle compared to 21 by the Indians. About 83 percent of their strikes resulted in a threat to the target, while in India’s case, only 37 percent of the strikes resulted in shots on goal.
The Indians continued to struggle with their penalty corner routine as they could only score two out of the 15 they earned. In contrast, England earned three penalty corners and failed in all three. Indian attackers like Mandeep, Jugraj Singh, Harmanpreet Singh and Abhishek squandered their chances to score.
India got off to a quick start and Hardik Singh charged from the left flank immediately after the opening whistle in the first minute to put England on the back foot. Minutes later, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay earned India’s first penalty corner, and he scored from a rebound to give his team an early lead.
Young Vivek Sagar Prasad brilliantly came to India’s rescue after England earned a penalty corner. With minutes on the clock in the first quarter, Hardik Singh launched a brilliant counter-attack as he sent the ball to Mandeep Singh inside the strike circle. Mandeep struck a powerful tomahawk into the net as India extended their lead to 2-0.
Vivek Sagar Prasad and Hardik Singh continued the deep pressure on the left flank at the start of the second quarter. Sam Ward put pressure on the Indian defense from the right flank as he tried to cross the ball to William Callan inside the circle. But Krishna B Pathak prevailed and made a clever save to negate the opposition.
Minutes later, Mandeep Singh scored another goal for India with an excellent move inside the circle as India extended their lead to 3-0. England’s Christopher Griffiths took a shot but could only find the sidebar and India went 3-0 up to the half-time break.
As the second began, England began to take possession of the ball in search of an opening inside the Indian circle. But India continued to defend the numbers, giving no chance to the opposition to take aim. Mandeep Singh remained the target man inside the circle as Gurjant Singh tried to find him to create an opportunity, only to be intercepted by England’s defense. Liam Ansel managed to get the ball into the net before the end of the third quarter to close the gap for England.
Gaining confidence from their first goal scored late in the third quarter, England tried to reduce the deficit further in the last 15 minutes. But a costly error in defense from England landed India another penalty corner, and Harmanpreet Singh easily converted it to extend India’s lead to 4-1.
England’s Nicholas Bandurak scored a minute later to level 4-2. Philip Roper broke through the Indian defense and hit the ball past goalkeeper Krishna B Pathak as England added another goal to the board. Nicolas Bandurk counterattacked once again as England leveled, with minutes left on the clock. India faced some nervous moments with the pressure of England building up, but managed to hold off till the final whistle as the match ended in a 4-4 draw.
The Indians scored in the third quarter and thought they had done enough to win the match. He allowed England to invade freely and lost the advantage he had created.
It was a disappointing result for India as claiming three points against England would have helped them top the pool and avoid running into Australia in the semi-finals.
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