FIH Hockey Champions Trophy 2016: India 2-1 Great Britain - Full Match Report
With this win, India move to the top of the tournament standings.
A heavy downpour at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park led to a 20-minute delayed start of the match between hosts Great Britain and India. Both sides, having been held to a draw in each of their opening fixtures on the previous day took the field looking for their first win of the 2016 Champions Trophy as the referee’s whistle finally got us underway at 4:20pm local time.
Great Britain dominated from the very beginning
Right from the outset, the Britishers started to dictate the proceedings while India struggled to find possession in the middle. For the entirety of the first quarter, the Blueshirts could not manage a single attempt on the opponents’ goal while Sreejesh, playing his 150th match, was kept busy at the goal-line by a flurry of onslaughts by the home side.
To worsen things, a number of penalty corners were given away by a wobbly defence, none of which were converted and India lived a charmed life going into the second quarter.
First goal scored by Mandeep Singh for India
As soon as the action resumed, SV Sunil darted into the final third and sent the ball rolling across the face of the goal where a diving Mandeep made no mistake to tuck it into the goal in the 17th minute, thereby picking up his second goal in as many matches.
Then on, however, it was again an all-Britain show till the half-time whistle was sounded, as the Indians continued to live dangerously at the back resting on a thin one-goal cushion.
Action livened up in the second half
A much-needed boost to the Indians’ morale came about in the second half. Captain Raghunath’s blinding drag-flick flew out of custodian Pinner’s reach but rammed into his gallant British counterpart Barry Middleton’s shoulder to culminate in a penalty stroke, following a confident referral for India. Harmanpreet Singh made no mistake from the spot which doubled India’s lead in the 34th minute.
Great Britain responded immediately through drag-flick specialist Ashley Jackson’s lofted strike from a penalty corner in the 35th minute which fetched their first goal of the championship. From that point on till the end of the final quarter, India desperately clung on to their slender lead, ensuring their previous day’s late downturn isn’t repeated today.
At the end of some last minute referral drama from the home side, the game was finally over with Roelant Oltmans’ Indian side clinching their first victory of the tournament with a gritty 2-1 over Great Britain.