India were punished by a ruthless England side, who walked away with three points through Samuel Ward’s brace during the Hockey World League Final on Saturday in Bhubaneshwar.
England certainly outplayed their opponents in the first half, and marched to a 2-0 lead through David Goodfield and Ward’s goals. It was not until the final quarter that the Indians responded, cashing in on two penalty corners with Akasheep Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh finding the back of the net.
England, however, kept their cool despite their defence being put under severe pressure in the final minutes, breaking Indian hearts with a terrific field goal from Ward.
For much of three quarters, India were all at sea across the pitch. The English dominated possession, thwarted opposition attacks, and had more ideas when the ball reached the circle. After the contest was locked in a cagey midfield battle in the first half, the game breathed to life with Akashdeep Singh’s powerful run down the left, creating the first clear-cut chance of the game. Chinglensana Singh’s shot missed the target narrowly.
England’s made their possession count in towards the closing stages of the second quarter through Goodfield’s scrappy effort; the ball deflected off goalkeeper Suraj Karkera before rolling into the net.
India’s misery continued in the third quarter. There were many misplaced passes during their build-up play and a couple of penalty corner opportunities went astray. England, on the other hand kept pressing the Indian defenders relentlessly. Harmanpreet Singh’s terrible lapse in defence, failing to control a high ball, allowed Ward to cut in and double his side’s lead.
Sjoerd Marijne’s side were not going down without a fight and made a spirited comeback with 15 minutes left on the clock. Their passes were crisp with Rupinder leading the way from the back. England’s defence crumbled under pressure and gave away too many penalty corners, which allowed India to find their feet.
Akashdeep netted the rebound from Rupinder’s penalty corner and the hosts still had 12 minutes to get back in the game. India’s persistance paid off as Rupinder made it 2-2 with five minutes from time with the sweetest of strikes.
Their joy was short-lived as the Indian defender turned from hero to villian, gifting the ball to David Condon, who found Ward at the edge of the circle. The latter stunned the capacity crowd with a clinical finish with barely three minutes left on the clock. India play Germany on Monday in what will be their final group stage clash.
- India 2 (Akashdeep Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh) lost to England 3 (Samuel Ward x 2, David Goodfield)