India book final berth in Four Nations tournament

India book final berth in Four Nations tournament

India book final berth in Four Nations tournament

A structured defence and clinical attack saw India beat hosts New Zealand 3-1 in the final round robin match of the double-leg Four Nations Invitational Hockey Tournament at Blake Park here  on Saturday.

India will play the final on Sunday  against Belgium, who beat Japan 4-1.

Harmanpreet Singh (2nd minute), Dilpreet Singh (21th) and Mandeep Singh (47th) scored for India.

Their first breakthrough came when a circle entry fetched them a penalty corner  created by Mandeep Singh.

It was Harmanpreet Singh who stepped up for the drag flick and he was impeccable and fierce as he improvised the injection to flick the ball past New Zealand goalkeeper Richard Joyce.  

The next few minutes saw India hold their defence with Rupinder Pal Singh, who was rested for the match against Belgium, leading the charge of defenders as their man-to-man marking was spot on, not allowing New Zealand to make forays into India's circle.

Youngster  Dilpreet Singh, who had scored two goals in his debut game, was impressive when he picked up the assist to put the ball past the New Zealand goal post in the 21st minute, taking India's lead to a comfortable 2-0.

India held on to the lead with a well-rounded performance. Though they  conceded a penalty corner  in the 42nd minute, which was well-executed by Kane Russell, India didn't drop their momentum.

In the 47th minute, Mandeep Singh was excellent in the circle to score an impressive goal to earn India a 3-1 scoreline.

"We started the match much better today and I saw individual improvement. It's important for the players to keep pushing themselves. I am particularly happy about today's win because the team did a lot of analysing ahead of the match and their keenness to improve was evident," said chief coach Sjoerd Marijne.