5th Sultan of Johor Cup Final: Great Britain edge India in sudden death penalty shootout to win the tournament
The final of the Sultan of Johor Cup was expected to be a hard-fought contest but it exceeded expectations and turned out an absolute thriller. On one hand, the young defending champions, India, who have looked commanding thus far. On the other, the gritty Great Britain, the only team to have beaten India in the tournament.
The first half started on a sour note for India as Britain skipper Luke Taylor’s penalty corner deflected off an Indian defender and went into the back of their own net. That gave Taylor his tenth goal of the tournament, the most by any player. Harmanpreet avenged his side with a beautiful coversion off a penalty corner in the 12th minute. Neither team could get the better of the other as the half-time whistle blew with the scores tied 1-1.
Compared to the first half where they looked like they were just holding off Great Britain, India turned on the heat in the opening minutes of the second half. It paid off immediately, with Gurjant Singh scoring in the 41st minute. But the Reds gave as good as they got, with Jack Turner finding a gap in the Indian defence to score in the 45th minute. Both teams were neck-and-neck for the remainder of the game, with the only remarkable incident being a close attempt by the Brits which was kept out by the Indian custodian.
So to a penalty shootout it went. Ed Horler was up first for Great Britain and he put it in. Harjeet Singh walked out calmly and equalized for India. The next 2 tries were duds for both teams as Josh Pavis, James Albery, Parvinder Singh and Gurjant Singh couldn’t find the back of the net.
Jack Clee came forward spinning and literally ran circles around goalie Vikas Dahiya and put GB ahead. Parvinder Singh equalized for India. Jonty Griffiths and Nilakanta Sharma’s misses would take it closer to the furnace as the fans’s undoubtably couldn’t believe the bang they got for their buck.
The Indian skipper Harjeet Singh walked up, scored first for India and walked off as if he was strolling in the park. Ed Horler’s goal was disqualified for a stick check but Britain made the most of their subsequent penalty stroke and scored. Any nails remaining on the fingers of the fans probably disappeared with that one.
India’s Ajit Pandey was next for India. Disaster struck as he slipped and fell en route to the goal and nullified his team’s attempt. Great Britain, in a stroke of brilliance, played “the hurricane” Jack Clee who pulled off a stunner with his trademark spin and gave Britain their first Sultan of Johor Cup.
Malaysia were awarded bronze while India took silver. Great Britain’s Chris Wyver was adjudged the best goal keeper of the tournament while their captain won the top goalscorer award. Indian skipper Harjeet Singh took the man of the match award despite the team not being third time lucky.