Striker Mandeep Singh struck a brace as the Indian men’s hockey team registered a 3-2 win over Great Britain in Antwerp to end their Europe tour on an unbeaten note on Monday.
Harmanpreet Singh’s goal in the very first minute and a double by Mandeep in the 28th and 59th minute helped India remain undefeated on the tour. For Great Britain, James Gall (20’) and striker Adam Forsyth (55’) scored.
In their previous match, India’s Simranjeet Singh had scored a late goal to hold Great Britain to a 1-1 draw and against Germany, the PR Sreejesh-led side had secured a 6-1 win and a 1-1 draw respectively.
In Monday’s match, India started off aggressively and earned themselves a Penalty Corner in the very first minute of the game. The opportunity was converted by India’s vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh to give his side an early lead. Though Great Britain replied to the setback with a structured attack that helped them make a foray into the striking circle, a goal was denied by the alert Indian goalkeeper Krishan B Pathak. The early advantage helped the Indian men maintain pressure on their opponents, ending the first quarter with a 1-0 lead.
Great Britain drew parity in the 20th minute through midfielder Gall’s field goal. The equaliser helped his team gain the right momentum. Putting India under pressure, GB earned themselves a PC, but their attempt was derailed by a brilliant save by India skipper PR Sreejesh. India’s moment to regain the lead came in the 28th minute when forward Mandeep successfully converted the PC on a rebound.
Ahead by a goal, India rallied to extend the lead further with aggressive attack in the third quarter. Though they fetched a PC in the early minute of that quarter and even made as many as five circle entries, they were denied each time. India’s defence, however, remained resolute as they held on to the 2-1 lead.
Though India dominated the proceedings at the start of the fourth quarter, a quick turnaround saw Great Britain grabbing the opportunity as Alan Forsyth scored an equalizer in the 55th minute. The last few minutes was a battle of nerves as both teams lived up to the billing, but it was Mandeep who rose to the occasion as his late strike help India cap off their first assignment of 2021 on a high note.