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Nirmal
Saturday, February 4, 2023

With a goalless draw, India’s wait for the knockout continues.

FeaturedSports NewsWith a goalless draw, India's wait for the knockout continues.

Attacks, tackles, injuries, moments that take your breath away with 21,800 spectators. India’s second Poole D World Cup encounter against England had all the drama of a tightly contested game, except that the key ingredient was missing – goals.

Both evenly matched and ranked teams battled for every second of the 60 minutes, pushing each other end-to-end on the new blue turf of the Bursa Munda Hockey Stadium, but here to draw for a single point. Fail to convert the opportunity. on Sunday.

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Although the Indian forwards could not convert nine of their shots into goals, the defensive set-up was at the top of its game. They kept a clean sheet against Spain on Friday. He ensured that the hosts did not concede in this World Cup. Chief coach Graham Reid’s extensive work of austerity in defense came to the fore as India managed to save an impressive eight penalty corners.

After the first two rounds of matches, world No. 5 England and India are both on four points but the former leads the group with a better goal difference. Spain are third with three points after a 5-1 victory over debutants Wales earlier in the day. While the top-placed team will qualify directly for the quarter-finals, the second and third-placed teams will go into a crossover for a place in the last eight.

India got off to a great start with a shot at the English goal in the first minute but England controlled it and pushed the Indian defense with attacks. English conceded five penalty corners (PC) in the 90 seconds of the first quarter, with the first two and Sam Ward taking the next three.

With first-rusher Amit Rohidas on the bench, it was up to Manpreet Singh to take charge. The former Indian captain ran into flickers without fear, refusing the angles or variations of English drag flickers.

“At this level we play fast hockey. It’s always about when you give away those little corners. Both teams will feel that. When you have a 0-0 draw, both will feel that. We missed some. I was happy with the fight and determination we showed. It was a great game to watch, high-skilled hockey. Holds both teams in good stead later in the tournament. Both teams are tired. It was a telling match,” Reid said.

Indian captain Harmanpreet Singh, who is yet to score a goal in this World Cup, squandered India’s only PC chance in the dying minutes of the first quarter.

Goalkeeper Krishan Pathak, who alternated quarters with PR Sreejesh, impressed early in the second quarter, making excellent saves as England grabbed two more PCs in the 16th and 20th minutes. This time, local boy Rohidas saved all seven of England’s attempts against India from set pieces.

After playing 20 minutes of the game in their own half, world No. 6 India finally began to press. A good run by Mandeep Singh, assisted by Hardik Singh, gave India a chance as the boys in red managed to get back-to-back PCs.

India were wasteful in all their PCs – shared by Harmanpreet and Rohidas – but the tide turned when India began to take possession. Both Manpreet and Hardik scored two tries apiece but were unable to convert thanks to goalkeeper Oliver Payne – adjudged player of the match – as the game went into half-time at 0-0.

After a dazzling light and laser show at the break, the teams looked uneasy with England. While it rained PCs in the first half – 11 – the second half was dry and no organization gained a PC in the third quarter. Both teams became cagey though India tried a couple of times before Payne came to England’s rescue.

Hardik and Mandeep had chances but to no avail. Against Spain, Hardik scored a solo run towards the English goal but was injured in the 55th minute after a collision with an England defender and had to go off. Manpreet also accidentally got hit by a ball on the back of his neck, but soon got back to his feet.

Unlike the group stage play at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games – the competition was fairly clean with three green cards – one for England and two for India.

There was drama again in the end as India escaped a scare with 19 seconds left when England got their eighth and final PC. Bandorak flicked it to his right but Surendra Kumar saved with a block on the line.


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