34th Champions Trophy: India surprise England 3-1
A lot was at stake for the Indian men’s hockey team after their wooden spoon finish at the London Olympics. And the blue shirts didn’t quite disappoint, pulling a splendid come-from-behind 3-1 victory over England in their opening FIH Champions Trophy match at Melbourne.
India took their time to get a measure of their opponents before gradually asserting themselves in the match. The new-look Sardar-Singh-led side suffered a setback when Richard Smith gave England the lead through their first penalty corner in the 19th minute.
India fought hard in pursuit of the equalizer and restored parity through Danish Mujtaba in the 23rd minute as both teams went into half time at 1-1.
Indians indulged in free-flowing hockey in the second half and unsettled the English defence with repeated raids. Yuvraj Walmiki brought India ahead with a superbly executed goal where he showed exemplary control.
The goal further pepped up the Indians as they kept the English backline under severe pressure. England were unable to get any momentum in their attacks as the Indians defended stoutly.
Save for their first penalty corner, England muffed up their next three penalty corners. India, who failed to profit from their first two penalty corners, finally converted one four minutes from the final hooter when Gurvinder Singh Chandi tapped home a brilliant indirect execution facilitated by Sardar.
India maintained their impressive record over England in the Champions Trophy. This was India’s second win over England in three meetings with one match drawn.