China scored the first goal and the last in a pulsating game to pull off a brilliant 2-2 draw against England in their first ever match at the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar on Friday.
World No 7 England had to share the spoils with the newcomers, paying the price for a lackluster start to the match.
China took the lead in the opening five minutes thanks to Guo Xiaoping, who waltzed past an array of defenders down the left byline. lifted the ball past the goalkeeper to open the scoring. It was China’s first World Cup goal and is an early contender for the goal of the tournament.
Overcoming a shaky start, England equalised towards the end of the first quarter. Gleghorne converted a penalty corner with aplomb to ease the nerves. England then started growing in confidence. While China had more of the ball in the first half, England created more chances and had more shots on goal as the teams entered half time all level.
England were the better side in the third quarter but failed to find the back of the net. Liam Ansell scored a goal in the fourth quarter, capitalising on an error in the back from China’s defence.
With the clock ticking down, it looked like England would join Australia in eking out a tight 2-1 win.
However, with less than 90 seconds left on the clock, China scored from a penalty corner.
Du Talake, who finished as China’s top scorer at both the Hockey World League 2017 Round 2 event in Dhaka and the Hero Men’s Asia Cup 2017, showed why he is a genuine threat from penalty corner situations. He showed the ‘keeper one way before firing a shot to his left.
The reaction to the goal and the final hooter showed how much the point meant for China as England’s campaign in Pool B was off to a stuttering start.
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