India clip Kiwis' wings, move to top of the table
England shock Oly champs Germany
India recovered from conceding an early self-goal to prevail 4-2 over New Zealand and move to the top of Pool A in the Champions Trophy hockey tournament here on Sunday.
The victory gave India six points from two matches, making them the only unbeaten team in the pool following England’s surprise 4-1 win over Olympic champions Germany earlier in the day.
Four-time defending champions Australia were held to a goalless draw by Olympic silver medallists Netherlands, while Pakistan scored twice in the second session to prevail 2-0 over Belgium in Pool B.
New Zealand took the lead in the third minute when India conceded a self-goal, which has been introduced into world level hockey after the Olympic Games.
Rupinderpal Singh failed to cleanly stop Sardar Singh’s back-pass in front of the goal and the ball trickled over the goal-line to concede India’s first self-goal in international hockey.
New Zealand defence also wilted under pressure to give India the equaliser. Akashdeep Singh dived for a deflection on Sardar long through ball in the 10th minute.
A fine field goal by Gurwinder Singh Chandi (14th) and a penalty corner conversion by V R Raghunath (25th) gave India a 3-1 lead at the interval before New Zealand came back through a flash strike by Nicholas Wilson two minutes into the second half.
Mounting pressure through repeated raids, India put the game out of New Zealand’s reach when Danish Mujtaba capitalised on a rebound from the goalkeeper on a pressing move in the 65th minute.
This was India’s second win in successive days, following the 3-1 win over England in their opening match.
India coach Michael Nobbs was delighted at the way the new-look team had produced two victories.
“I’m happy with the boys and the manner in which they have played,” Nobbs said.
“They are a young bunch and they’ve combined well in their first tournament together. These two wins will boost the confidence of the youngsters a great deal,” he added.
India next play Germany on Tuesday after a rest day on Monday.
England pulled off a stunning upset by hammering Germany 4-1, in an encounter that featured two self-goals.
The victory for England, six of whose players played their maiden international games in Saturday’s loss to India, was their first against Germany in Champions Trophy.
The Germans played with 10 men for the last 15 minutes after Niklas Grell was sent off following his second yellow card of the match, which automatically got converted into a red card. Trailing by two goals and one player short on the pitch, this marked the end of Germany’s comeback hopes.
Results: Pool A: India: 4 (Akashdeep Singh 10th; Gurwinder Singh Chandi 14th; V R Raghunath 25th; Danish Mujtaba 65th) bt New Zealand: 2 (Rupinderpal Singh 3rd (OG); Nicholas Wilson 37th); England: 4 (Adam Dixon 6th; Harry Martin 10th; Mats Grambusch 33rd (OG); Darren Cheesman 61st) bt Germany: 1 (Richard Smith 14th (OG).
Pool B: Pakistan: 2 (Abdul Haseem Khan 56th; Shafqat Rasool 69th) bt Belgium: 0; Australia: 0 drew with Netherlands: 0.