Azlan Shah Cup: India beat Britain by 3-1
Ipoh (Malaysia): Five-time champions India came from behind to stun Great Britain 3-1 and clinch the bronze medal in the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament here today. India dominated the match, but squandered several scoring opportunities to concede the lead to pre-tournament favourites Great Britian before staging a spirited comeback in the second session.
Shivendra Singh (42nd minute), Sandeep Singh (52nd) and Tushar Khandekar (69th) scored for India after Ashley Jackson (35th) put Great Britain ahead at the stroke of half time. India had earlier lost 2-3 to Great Britain, world`s fourth ranked side, in their round robin league encounter, but Michael Nobbs` boys played a composed game.
India`s domination began in the first minute when they made the first foray into the rival circle from the left flank through Sarvanjit Singh who sent a through pass for Shivendra, but the Indian striker failed to utilise the chance as he ran into a crowd of British defenders. In the seventh minute, Shivendra was slow in having a crack at the goal from close range after S V Sunil pushed in from the right.
India were soon awarded their first penalty corner when Rupinder Pal Singh was obstructed on top of the circle by Dan Fox, but the opportunity was wasted as Danish Mujtaba could not stop the push. Shivendra again had a good look at the goal in the 15th minute when he had only the goalkeeper to beat, but his shot lacked power and was easily palmed away.
Four minutes later S K Uthappa was unable to deflect in a diagonal ball from Shivendra. After a series of misses, the Indians were guilty of conceding the lead to Great Britain in the final minute of the opening half when Jackson converted the European team`s first penalty corner with a rising flick into the net.
Soon after the change of ends, Great Britain forced another penalty corner, but this time Jackson`s shot was deflected out by the Indian defenders. India finally managed to draw partity in the 42nd minute when Shivendra pushed in a square-pass from Uthappa, who set up the goal with an impressive run from the right. Continuing to dominate, India forced their second penalty corner 10 minutes later, and this time Sandeep scored with a fierce drag flick high into the goal for a 2-1 lead.
The Indian strikers created two more scoring opportunities, but failed to shoot past British goalkeeper James Fair. Traling 1-2, Great Britain made a desperate move and pulled its custodian Fair out of the field in the 68th minute to add another player in search of the equaliser. The move backfired as it created the opening for India`s third goal in the penultimate minute.
Sandeep sent an ariel ball to an unmarked Khandekar inside the rival circle, which the latter just had to get control of the ball and push into an open goal, and he duly accomplished the task to seal India`s victory. Earlier, South Korea secured the fifth position when they defeated hosts Malaysia 3-2 in the fifth-sixth position playoff match.
Hyun Hye-Sung (1st minute), Jang Jong-Hyun (42nd) and You Hyo-Sik (50th) scored for South Korea, while Hafifi Hafiz (17th) and Faisal Saari (63rd) shot on target for the home team. For the first time in the history of the tournament, Pakistan finished at the bottom of the table in the seventh position.