India score two late goals to pip England, top Pool B

India score two late goals to pip England, top Pool B

Varun Kumar and Mandeep Singh struck in the dying minutes as the Indian men's hockey team pulled off a thrilling 4-3 win over England to top Pool B in the Commonwealth Games here on Wednesday.

Varun Kumar (59th minute) scored the goal to make it 3-3 through a well-struck penalty corner before Mandeep Singh (60') netted the winner.

Rupinder Pal Singh (51') and Manpreet Singh (33') were the other scorers for India while David Condon (17'), Liam Ansell (52') and Sam Ward (56') struck for England.

India will take on New Zealand in the semifinal while England will face defending champions Australia.  

"This kind of hard work on the  field is what we trained for in the last few weeks in Bengaluru where we paid a lot of attention to discipline and winning mentality. I'm happy this has come in the right moment in the tournament after an average start," said chief coach Sjoerd Marijne.

Talking about the semifinal against New Zealand, the coach said: "I want the team to keep up this winning momentum. New Zealand are a good team, they did well against Australia and I want our boys to soak up this energy from this match against England and focus on the semifinal."

England dominated the proceedings in the first and second quarter. They  struck first in the 16th minute when Gleghorne drilled in a strong cross to Adam Dixon. Dixon relayed the ball to Condon who came up with a brilliant backhand shot into the goal.

India's wait for an equaliser finally ended in the 33rd minute when skipper Manpreet struck from the top of the circle after a good assist from Mandeep.

India continued to dominate in the third quarter and Rupinder Pal Singh earned them the 2-1 lead when he converted a PC in the 50th minute. But defensive errors in the circle saw India give away two crucial PCs soon after.

England punished India for their mistakes as Liam Ansell and Sam Ward swiftly converted PCs in the 52nd and 56th minutes, snatching a 3-2 lead.

Akashdeep Singh helped India win a PC in the dying minutes of the match, with India pulling out the goalkeeper to add an extra man to their attack. The tactic worked with Varun Kumar finding the equaliser with a well-struck drag-flick.

A powerful pass from Manpreet that sliced into the top of the circle was deflected into the goal by Mandeep, sealing the issue for India.

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