Six Nations Invitational 2016: India lose to New Zealand in close encounter
Both teams came into the match looking to play cautious hockey and avoid defeat, India having already suffered one against Germany in the tournament. The game’s tone was set, with both looking to hold fort and react through counter attacks.
In an otherwise timid first half, India had the best chance, when they stole the ball on New Zealand’s right flank, near the half way line and made their way up in a quick burst through Ramandeep. His pass, laid off to Talwinder drew out the New Zealand goalkeeper for a fine save. New Zealand had a PC soon after, but Vikas Dahiya starting instead of Sreejesh kept it out with a fine save.
Minutes into the second quarter though, a rare lapse in concentration led to New Zealand’s goal, as the ball bundled over the line after Dahiya had initially saved the shot from James Coughlan. From there on it became a case of India breaking down New Zealand’s stout defence to try and find the equaliser. They earned their first PC at the end of the quarter, but Raghunath’s shot went wide. New Zealand went into halftime in the lead.
India came out much stronger in the second half, creating chances and attacking more often through the centre. They had another chance to draw level in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, this time a reversal of roles. Talwinder stole the ball and played it through to Ramandeep, whose sliding shot, negotiated while he was off balance failed to meet the target.
India kept up the barrage of attacks through the final period, forcing New Zealand deep into their own half, and soon enough, with 3 minutes to play India had their second PC of the game, but New Zealand’s front runners blocked the flick to deny them the equaliser, as they took the victory.
India play Argentina next at 17:30 local time on 2 July 2016.