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India rout Poland for second win in Hockey World League

Last updated on: June 24, 2015 04:21 IST

 Yuvraj Walmiki

India's Yuvraj Walmiki in action. Photograph: Paul Kane/Getty Images

India scored a 3-0 victory over Poland to notch their second consecutive victory in the Hockey World League semi-finals, in Antwerp, on Tuesday.

The Walmiki brothers, Yuvraj (23rd minute) and Devinder (52nd), got their names on the score-sheet with flash goals and captain Sardar Singh (41st minute) sounded the board with a firm reverse drive to secure India's facile win at the KHC Dragons stadium.

India had launched their campaign with a 3-2 victory over France on the opening day of the tournament.

Breezy conditions and the 16 degree Celsius temperature seemed to be to Poland's liking as they did well to frustrate the Indian strikers in the first session, not allowing them a decent look at the goal.

Crowding their defence, they checked the Indian strikers for long, and banked on long passes from their territory to build brisk counter-attacks. In the end, though, the Indians found ways to break down the crowded Polish defence and pump in three goals.

It was Poland who earned the first penalty-corner in the 20th minute, but captain Pawel Bratkowski's rising drag-flick was palmed away by goalkeeper P R Sreejesh.

Yuvraj opened the scoring, capitalising on a lucky break in the 23rd minute after a long diagonal ball got deflected towards him off a defender's stick. He made no mistake in flicking it past the hapless goalkeeper.

In the absence of Rupinder Singh, who is recuperating from an injury suffered in the warm-up matches, India were unimpressive from the three penalty-corners they forced.

Sardar increased the lead in the 41st minute with a stinging reverse drive from the top of the scoring circle into the left corner of the goal.

Devindar Walmiki then scored his second goal in successive matches in his debut tournament by deflecting home in a diagonal ball from Chinglensana Singh in the 52nd minute.

Earlier, in a Pool B fixture, Ireland rallied from a two-goal deficit in the first quarter to secure a 2-2 draw against Great Britain.

Ireland, who narrowly missed qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games, showed a lot of resolve in earning a point in their first outing of this World League semi-finals.

Britain were two goals ahead by the eighth minute of play with field strikes from captain Barry Middleton (5th minute) and Iain Lewers (8th) before the Irish hit back.

Kyle Good's 19th-minute strike in open play was followed by John Jackson firing the equaliser in six minutes into the second session.

Britain have now drawn both their matches, having earlier held Belgium 2-2 on the opening day.

New Zealand hammer India 5-0 in women's Hockey World League

India's women hockey players in action. Photograph: PTI

India's defence caved in against a strong New Zealand and they were beaten 5-0, their second successive defeat, in the league stage of the women's Hockey World League semi-finals at the KHC Dragons Stadium.

Dominating the bewildered Indian defence, Gemma Flynn and Kirsten Pearce scored two goals each, while Olivia Merry contributed one as world No. 4 New Zealand posted a thumping triumph for their second straight win in Pool B.

The Indian defence crumbled after matching the opponents for the initial 10 minutes of the contest.

India had lost 0-1 to Belgium on the opening day, and take on Poland next.

Poland are the lowest-ranked team in the group, which also features World Cup silver medalists Australia.

Hampered slightly by the cold weather, the Indian eves seemed to match the higher-ranked rivals and even mounted a few fine moves deep into the rival territory before the Flynn opened the scoring for the Black Sticks by swatting in a rebound from goalkeeper Savita, who had blocked a firm reverse hit by Ella Gunson.

Merry stretched the lead by flicking home during goalmouth scrimmage in the 17th minute. The Indian defence lost its structure in the second session and New Zealand had repeated shots at the citadel.

Flynn again got into goal-scoring action in the 32nd minute on her second attempt off the goalkeeper’s pads. Pearce then got into the act in the 44th minute by capitalising on a long ball he received inside the circle and then rounded off the scoring in the 52nd minute.

Conceding that the rivals played much better, Indian captain Ritu Rani was dejected by the margin of the defeat.

"We should have defended better, we conceded too many goals," said Rani.

Indian coach Mathias Ahrens said there was an enormous difference in the way the team started and the margin of defeat.

"We gave away two scrappy goals. We did not play a stable game, although the difference between the two teams was enormous," said Ahrens, who has recently taken charge of the World No. 13 Indian team.

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