Ipoh (Malaysia) - Five-time champions India bounced back from a goal down to beat tournament favourites Great Britain 3-1 and clinch the bronze medal in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup here Sunday.
For India, eight-time Olympic champions, the win over World No.4 Britain would give them the much needed boost ahead of the 2012 London Games. India also took sweet revenge of their 2-3 loss against Britain in the league games.
India pumped in three second half goals from Shivendra Singh (42nd minute), Sandeep Singh (52nd) and Tushar Khandekar (69th) after Ashley Jackson (35th) gave Britain the lead converting a penalty corner just at the stroke of half time.
As the scoreline suggests, India completely dominated the second half after a evenly poised first.
Desperate to make a podium finish, India, coached by Australian Michael Nobbs, played out a composed game. They made their intentions clear right from the first minute when Sarvanjit Singh sent in a through pass for Shivendra but the Indian striker squandered the move as he found a crowd of British defenders too much to break.
Shivendra and S.V.Sunil stepped up the attack soon and took the British defence with surprise with their quick runs. Shivendra again came close in the seventh minute after Sunil pushed in a pass from the right but the forward was slow in intercepting it.
India had a great chance after they were awarded the first penalty corner for an obstruction on Rupinder Pal Singhon top of the circle by Dan Fox. Danish Mujtaba failed to stop the push as the chance went begging.
India had to pay for a series of costly misses as Jackson converted his team’s first penalty corner with a rising flick into the net as Britain took the lead at the stroke of break.
It took seven minutes for India to restore parity after Shivendra scored from a square-pass from Uthappa.
India doubled the lead in the next 10 minutes after drag-flicker Sandeep converted a penalty corner.
In their bid to break India’s domination, Great Britain made a desperate yet poor move by pulling out their goalkeeper and in the 68th minute and adding a player up in search of the equaliser. But it backfired as it created the opening for the Indians, who sealed the matter with Khandekar pushing in the ball into an open goal.
The game look intensely poised uptil then. But things were soon going to look up for the Indian side coached by Michael Nobbs.
First it was Sandeep Singh, who hasn’t looked in great shape, who scored from the penalty corner. Great Britain then tried hard but in vain to grab an equaliser.
Tushar Khandekar then sealed it for India as he scored on an open goal. It was a consolation for the Indian side after a disappointing campaign in preparation for the London Olympics. But coach Nobbs and the team definitely will have positives to take out from the tournament.