Indian march continues

Hosts defeat Bangladesh 5-1 to enter next round

 Indian men came from behind to defeat Bangladesh 5-1 and top the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 which concluded at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Sunday.

India remained unbeaten in the tournament with 15 points and along with Ireland, who had 12 points, qualified for the next round.

Bangladesh, who had been a surprise package in the tournament, lived up to the expectations when they scored the first goal of the match through Md Mamunur Rahman Chayan (5th). But India equalised within 10 minutes through Danish Mujtaba (15th) before Rupinder Pal Singh (32nd) gave them the lead. Akashdeep Singh (50th) and Malak Singh (58th) and Danish (64th) scored the remaining goals. A penalty corner in the 12th minute raised hopes but VR Raghunath’s strike was cleared by goalkeeper. Raghunath, however, played his part in drawing level for India. His cross from quarterline found the stick of Danish, who deflected in.

A relieved India surged ahead in the closing minutes of the first half with a penalty corner. Rupinder’s high flick found the back of the net and India entered the break leading 2-1.The hosts carried the momentum after the break.

Akashdeep then increased the lead when he tapped in the pass from Harbir Singh. Thereafter, it was India all the way.

Malak and Gurjinder Singh combined to swell India’s tally further before Danish scored the fifth goal.

“Our first aim was to improve and qualify for the next round. Youngsters like Malak Singh and Mandeep Singh have played well,” Indian coach Michael Nobbs said.

Sardar Singh was adjudged the man of the tournament. He was awarded Rs one lakh by Hockey India and Rs two lakh by the title sponsor Hero MotoCorp.

DH News ServiceResults: India: 5 (Danish Mujtaba 15th, 64th, Rupinder Pal Singh 32nd, Akashdeep Singh 50th, Malak Singh 58th) bt Bangladesh 1 (Md Mamunur Rahman Chayan 5th); Ireland: 4 (Peter Brown 12th, Shane O Donoghue 35, 39th, 50th) bt China: 0; Oman: 7 (Samir Haliyas Al Shibli 2nd, 69th, Ahmed Sabeel Al Balushi 22nd, 42nd; Mahmood Salim Al Hasani 40th, Mohamed Hubais Al Shar 48th, self goal (68th) bt Fiji: 3 (Hector Smith 2nd, James Saqacala 4th, Leevan Dutta 14th).

Individual awards: Top goal scorer: VR Raghunath (Ind) and Alan Sothern (Irl); Player of the Tournament: Sardar Singh (Ind); Best defender: VR Raghunath (Ind); Best goalkeeper: David Harte (Irl); Best forward: Alan Sothern (Irl); Best midfielder: Rashel Mahmud (Ban).

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