Sunil, Walmiki help India score narrow win over New Zealand

Sunil, Walmiki help India score narrow win over New Zealand

India took a three-goal lead within the first 22 minutes of play. But because of their poor defence they allowed the Kiwis to stage a comeback and equalise early in the second half here at Hellswood Sports Complex in Mundrah.

Yuvraj’s stunner off the feed of Sunil in the 60th minute once again gave India a lead and then Tushar Khandkar consolidated it three minutes later. And though New Zealand managed to score another goal towards the end of the match to reduce the margin, Indians manage to hold on to the lead.

Sunil scored the first Indian goal in the very first minute of the match before setting up Yuvraj to hit another one within two minutes. V Raghunath then converted India’s second penalty corner in the 22nd minute to give what seemed an healthy 3-0 lead.

The Kiwis caught the Indian defence unawares, scoring three goals in the space of ten minutes midway through the second half. Blair Hilton scored a brace (49th and 59th min), while Shay Neal stole one off Indian custodian PR Sreejesh in the 53rd minute. Stephen Jennes, towards the end, scored another goal for New Zealand in the 65th minute.

Indian coach Michael Nobbs appeared a relieved man. “It is good result for a training match. We again did some silly mistakes and conceded avoidable goals. Against much stronger teams like Australia, we would have been punished but we got away with the Kiwis. “I work on attacking hockey. From that angle I am happy the way we scored. Yes, we have to work in some areas to avoid conceding goals,” Nobbs said.

India will now go to Perth to play in the Lanco International Super Series, which starts on Thursday.

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