New Delhi: Samuel Ward scored twice as England spoiled fightback from India to win 3-2 in the dying minutes of a match of the Hockey World League (HWL) Final at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar on Saturday.
England had taken a 2-0 lead through David Goodfield (25th minute) and Ward (43rd) but India wiped away the visitors’ advantage with goals from Akshdeep Singh (47th) and Rupinder Pal Singh (50th).
But Ward scored his second of the evening in the 56th minute to silence the packed stadium as England walked away 3-2 winners.
England got the lead against the run of play. Even though till then India had not got a penalty corner but the forwards were going in a good rhythm. In the 25th minute, following their first penalty corner, England counter-attacked and an unmarked Goodfield slid the ball in from the baseline.
After conceding the goal, India stepped up the pressure and were determined for the equaliser. Chinglensana utilised his pace and power to good effect from the left.
But just at the time when the Indians were keeping up the pressure, a long overhead ball was poorly cleared by Harmanpreet Singh in the Indian circle. Ward snatched it away and slammed the ball past Akash Chikte to make it 2-0.
However, India bounced back in quick time in the final quarter. India earned two penalty corners in the 47th minute but to no avail.
But they pinned England in their own half and in the very next minute they were rewarded with another penalty corner. Rupinder’s drag-flick was blocked by the English custodian but Akashdeep pounced on the rebound to pull a goal back.
Rupinder was right on the money two minutes later, employing a powerful flick to which the England defence had no answer. The goal sent the Kalinga Stadium crowd into delirium, only for Ward to silence them six minutes later as he held off Manpreet Singh and Rupinder at the top of the ‘D’ to bang in his second of the evening.
“We made some mistakes during the game. We have to improve and play a much better game. But, I am happy that we created some opportunities for penalty corner and converted into goal,” said Indian coach Sjoerd Marijne. (With IANS inputs)