CWG 2018

CWG 2018 Hockey: India beat England in dramatic finale to top Pool B and avoid Australia in semis

Varun Kumar and Mandeep Singh scored in the last two minute to help India win 4-3.

India scored two goals in the last two minutes to stage an improbable comeback to beat England 4-3 and top Pool B in the Commonwealth Games men’s hockey on Wednesday.

Trailing 2-3 with just four minutes left on the clock, Varun Kumar levelled the scores for the Indians with a penalty corner and Mandeep Singh found the winner when he deflected a cross from the right into the goal with just half a second left for the final hooter.

Rupinder Pal Singh (51st minute) and Manpreet Singh (33rd) scored the other two goals for India while England found the net through David Condon (16th), Liam Ansell (52nd) and Sam Ward (56th).

The win, India’s third in row after a draw against Pakistan in the opening encounter, took them to a total of 10 points and ensured that they avoided defending champions Australia in the semi-finals.

Instead, the 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medallist will now face New Zealand on Friday while England will face Australia.

(Read more: Follow all the updates on an action-packed day seven for India here.)

With Australia beating New Zealand to top Pool A just before India and England took the field, it was clear that both teams wanted to avoid finishing second. While England could afford a draw due to their superior goal difference, Indians need a win and they made a strong start to the match and Lalit Upadhyay and Dilpreet Singh had chances to put the team ahead within the first five minutes. However, both were guilty of hitting the ball wide.

England then began to pressure the Indian midfield and Mark Gleghorne had a couple of chances to score but goalkeeper PR Sreejesh thwarted any kind of danger.

But that changed within two minutes of the second quarter when Condon latched on to a deflection from Ansell off a Gleghorne cross to beat Sreejesh with a reverse hit.

A few minutes ago, Akashdeep had a golden opportunity to put India ahead when SV Sunil deflected a Mandeep Singh corner towards him but the striker wasn’t quick enough and English goalkeeper George Pinner had kicked the ball away by the time the Indian lined up for a hit.

India did not create a single penalty corner while the ball was mostly played in their own half.

India showed more urgency after the restart and the equaliser came when Gurjant intercepted an English back pass and Manpreet Singh made no mistake in slotting home from the top of the striking circle after Mandeep Singh played the ball back to the skipper instead of taking the shot himself in the 33rd minute.

The goal rejuvenated India as they began passing more aggressively and controlled the pace of the game. They had a couple of shots on goal but couldn’t finish well.

Rupinderpal Singh finally put India ahead in the 51st minute when his drag-flick was deflected by an English defender.

However, the joy was short lived as England equalised within a minute through an indirect penalty corner conversion with Ansell finding the right hand corner of the goal.

Last minute drama

And England’s leading scorer Ward made the Indians pay for their sloppy work in defence as he converted the team’s fifth penalty corner with an extremely fast dragflick to Sreejesh’s right four minutes from the final hooter.

But the Indians were not willing to give up and pounded the opposition goal with moves from both flanks.

The constant pressure bore fruit as India earned their third penalty corner in the 59th minute and Varun Kumar, who came in for Rupinder (who had hobbled out with an injury), got the ball through the legs of the England goalkeeper.

The Indians were quick to win the ball after the restart and build a move through the right and Mandeep made no mistake in deflecting a cross inside the striking circle.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

What are racers made of?

Grit, strength and oodles of fearlessness.

Sportspersons are known for their superhuman discipline, single-minded determination and the will to overcome all obstacles. Biographies, films and documentaries have brought to the fore the behind-the-scenes reality of the sporting life. Being up at the crack of dawn, training without distraction, facing injuries with a brave face and recovering to fight for victory are scenes commonly associated with sportspersons.

Racers are no different. Behind their daredevilry lies the same history of dedication and discipline. Cornering on a sports bike or revving up sand dunes requires the utmost physical endurance, and racers invest heavily in it. It helps stave off fatigue and maintain alertness and reaction time. It also helps them get the most out of their racecraft - the entirety of a racer’s skill set, to which years of training are dedicated.

Racecraft begins with something as ‘simple’ as sitting on a racing bike; the correct stance is the key to control and manoeuvre the bike. Riding on a track – tarmac or dirt is a great deal different from riding on the streets. A momentary lapse of concentration can throw the rider into a career ending crash.

Physical skill and endurance apart, racers approach a race with the same analytical rigour as a student appearing in an exam. They conduct an extensive study of not just the track, but also everything around it - trees, marshal posts, tyre marks etc. It’s these reference points that help the racer make braking or turning decisions in the frenzy of a high-stakes competition.

The inevitability of a crash is a reality every racer lives with, and seeks to internalise this during their training. In the immediate aftermath of the crash, racers are trained to keep their eyes open to help the brain make crucial decisions to avoid collision with other racers or objects on the track. Racers that meet with accidents can be seen sliding across the track with their heads held up, in a bid to minimise injuries to the head.

But racecraft is, of course, only half the story. Racing as a profession continues to confound many, and racers have been traditionally misunderstood. Why would anyone want to pour their blood, sweat and tears into something so risky? Where do racers get the fearlessness to do laps at mind boggling speed or hurtle down a hill unassisted? What about the impact of high speeds on the body day after day, or the monotony of it all? Most importantly, why do racers race? The video below explores the question.


The video features racing champions from the stable of TVS Racing, the racing arm of TVS Motor Company, which recently completed 35 years of competitive racing in India. TVS Racing has competed in international rallies and races across some of the toughest terrains - Dakar, Desert Storm, India Baja, Merzouga Rally - and in innumerable national championships. Its design and engineering inputs over the years have also influenced TVS Motors’ fleet in India. You can read more about TVS Racing here.

This article has been produced by Scroll Brand Studio on behalf of TVS Racing and not by the Scroll editorial team.