Mandeep Singh scored a brace and Harmanpreet Singh netted the other as India ended their Europe tour unbeaten with a 3-2 win over Great Britain in Antwerp on Monday. Earlier India drew 1-1 against Great Britain, blanked Germany 6-1 and drew 1-1 respectively, thus maintaining their unbeaten record on the tour.
Already having qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, courtesy of their triumph in the FIH Men’s Series Finals in Bhubaneswar in 2019, these friendly matches are perfect preparation before they take the field at the world’s grandest stage.
Harmanpreet gave India the lead in the first minute itself through a penalty corner. Down by an early setback, Great Britain came back strongly with a combined attack and made forays into the Indian circle repeatedly.
They even had a chance to equalize but an alert Krishan Pathak under the bar saved the hosts from any danger ending the first quarter with India leading 1-0. However, the World No.7 side didn’t take much time to equalize, through a James Gall field goal in the 20th minute.
India skipper PR Sreejesh stood tall under the bar
Gaining momentum, Great Britain pressed hard and even earned a penalty corner. However, India skipper PR Sreejesh stood tall under the Indian bar with a brilliant save to deny the opponents. Mandeep gave India the lead again in the 28th minute with a successful penalty corner conversion on the rebound.
The scoreline remained the same in the third quarter despite the Indians coming out aggressively. Men in Blue earned a penalty corner early in the quarter and even made five entries in the D, but each time they were denied by a resolute British defense.
The final quarter began with India going all out to extend their lead but a quick counter-attack saw Alan Forsyth equalizing for Great Britain five minutes from time. With the last few minutes to go, both teams put their A game forward but it was Mandeep who emerged to be the hero with a late strike to cap off India's brilliant tour.