The Indian junior men’s hockey team played out an entertaining 5-5 draw with Great Britain to stay in contention for a berth in the final of the 10th Sultan of Johor Cup. For India, Poovanna CB (7’), Amandeep (50’), Araijeet Singh Hundal (53’) and Sharda Nand Tiwari (56’, 58’) were the scorers, while Great Britain’s Max Anderson (1’, 40’), Harrison Stone (42’) and Jami Golden (54’, 56’) were on target.
Defending champions Great Britain were out of the blocks faster than India, with Anderson scoring the first goal of the game, early on. A few minutes later, India levelled the scores with midfielder Poovanna finding the back of the net. The pacy and evenly contested first quarter ended with the score at 1-1.
The second quarter saw both the teams continue to match each other play for play, with neither allowing the other a way through. The match, which is a repeat of the final from the 2018 and 2019 editions, went into the half-time break with Great Britain and India all square at 1-1.
With both teams chasing the win, it was India who had an early look at goal, when they won a penalty corner in the 32nd minute, but weren’t able to convert. Nonetheless, it was Great Britain who edged ahead, five minutes before the end of the quarter, as Anderson scored his second of the game. A couple of minutes later, Stone added another for Great Britain as they took control of the game, ending the quarter 3-1 ahead.
India needed a strong final quarter, and began the final phase on the front foot. Five minutes in, India halved the deficit as Amandeep got himself on the scoresheet. Shortly after, the contest was back on level terms with Hundal scored India’s third. Great Britain however went through gears in the next few minutes with Golden scoring twice in two minutes to restore his team’s two-goal advantage.
Just as it looked that India’s hopes of reaching the final ended, Tiwari scored twice in two minutes from penalty corners to bring India right back into the game. Neither side could find a winner and walked away with a point each.
India’s chances of playing the final depends on the outcome of the matches between Malaysia-Japan and Australia-South Africa, both of which will be played later on Friday.
With eight points, India are currently second on the points table behind Australia while both South Africa and Japan have six points each.