Britain elbow out sloppy India

Britain elbow out sloppy India

Five-time champions India squandered chances galore to slump to a 2-3 defeat against Great Britain in the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament here on Sunday. 

After bouncing back from a two-goal deficit to draw parity, India gave it away through a defensive lapse in the 62nd minute when three defenders were beaten on top of the circle by a through ball that Nick Catlin picked up to score Great Britain’s match-winner.

Great Britain earlier scored two goals through penalty corners from Glen Kirkham (28th) and Ben Hawes (43rd). But India struck back to score twice in the space of four minutes through a penalty corner conversion from VR Raghunath (55th) and a dazzling deflection by S V Sunil (59th) to make a stunning return to the match.

With this win, Great Britain moved into the second position with four points from two matches, behind New Zealand.

Last year’s losing finalists Pakistan have three points from two outings, while India have slipped to the fifth spot with three points from as many matches. Great Britain opened the scoring in the 28th minute from their third penalty corner when Ashley Jackson’s shot was blocked by goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, but Kirkham swung the rising ball into the goal to give his side the lead.

Hawes then shot on target from a set-piece penalty corner attempt to make it 2-0 for Great Britain in the 43rd minute. But India’s joy was shortlived as Catlin restored Great Britain’s lead three minutes later when he beat goalkeeper Sreejesh with a reverse drive from an acute angle after receiving a through ball.

Meanwhile, New Zealand posted their third successive victory by prevailing 3-1 over an erratic Pakistan.  Ryan Archibald opened the scoring off a pass from Arun Panchia in the eighth minute and Andy Hayward converted a penalty corner two minutes later to help New Zealand race to a 2-0 lead. Nick Wilson made it 3-0. Pakistan reduced the margin with a fine deflection by Haseem Khan on a shot from Shafaqat Rasool in the 44th minute.

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