Hockey: Belligerent India hand 7-4 thrashing to New Zealand for their second win in the FIH Pro League
Bhubaneswar, November 4, 2022
Displaying ruthless firepower, India turned a 1-3 deficit into a 7-4 thrashing of New Zealand in its third FIH Hockey Pro League game at the Kalinga Stadium here on Friday.
This was India's second successive win over the Kiwis, having beaten the visitors 4-3 in their opener. In between the hosts lost to Spain 2-3.
India got 11 penalty corners but could convert only three. Still, it was an impressive showing by the hosts as they produced a fine attacking game with 29 circle penetrations as against 13 by New Zealand. India also had 56 per cent ball possession and 12 shots at opposition goal as against six by the visitors.
The Kiwis outpaced India in the first 15 minutes in which four goals were scored. In the remaining 45 minutes, the Indians tore apart the Kiwis defence and pumped in six goals -- two in each of the three quarters -- while conceding only one in return.
For the hosts, who were levelled 3-3 at half time, the goal scorers were Captain Harmanpreet Singh (7th and 19th both PCs), Karthi Selvam (17th and 38th), Raj Kumar Pal (31st), Sukhjeet Singh (50th) and Jugraj Singh (53rd). For New Zealand, Simon Child (2nd), Sam Lane (9th), Smith Jake (14th) and Nic Woods (54th) were the scorers.
The match was off to a stunning start when Simon Child surprised the Indians, scoring the goal in the first minute but the lead lasted barely five minutes as captain Harmanpreet converted a penalty corner with a powerful drag flick and restored parity in the sixth minute (1-1).
New Zealand, however, kept up the tremendous pressure as Sam Lane and Jake Smith managed to get past the Indian defence and beat goalkeeper P. R. Sreejesh in the eighth and 13th minute, respectively, to make it 3-1 for the visitors in the first quarter.
The hosts staged a remarkable rally in the second quarter with Karthi scoring a goal in the 16th minute. In the 18th minute, Harmanpreet scored his second goal via yet another penalty corner to draw parity (2-2).
In the third quarter, India mounted fierce attacks and the Kiwis defence fell apart as Raj Kumar Pal scored to give his side a lead (4-3). Karthi, was again on target as he dribbled past New Zealand defence and custodian Dominic Dixon to send the ball home to make it 5-3.
New Zealand wasted two opportunities to convert penalty corners, with Kane Russell was unable to make them count.
In the last quarter, Sukhjeet Singh surprised the New Zealand defenders in the 49th minute to give India a 6-3 lead. Jugraj Singh’s 52nd-minute penalty corner drag flick made it 7-3 for the hosts.
New Zealand skipper Nic Woods flicked the ball off a corner and reduced the goal deficit in the 53rd minute (7-4).