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FIH Series Finals: India record hard-fought win over Poland

June 07, 2019 21:49 IST

Captain Manpreet Singh struck twice to help India to a 3-1 win over Poland

IMAGE: Captain Manpreet Singh struck twice to help India to a 3-1 win over Poland. Photograph: Hockey India/Twitter

Skipper Manpreet Singh led from the front, scoring a brace to guide India to a hard-fought 3-1 win over Poland in the ongoing FIH Series Finals hockey tournament, in Bhubaneswar on Friday.

After a barren first quarter, Manpreet scored in the 21st and 26th minutes while drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh converted a penalty corner in the 36th as India registered their second consecutive win of the tournament.

Poland's lone goal was scored by Mateusz Hulboj in the 25th minute.

 

This was India's second win on the trot, but it was far from impressive, especially after having trashed World No. 21 Poland 10-0 in the Azlan Shah Cup less than three months ago.

Poland got the first scoring opportunity through a penalty corner in the very first minute but the opportunity went in vain.

The Indians, who were slow off the blocks, then slowly and steadily got into the groove but their forward raids were nullified by the Polish defence.

India's first shy at the goal came in the sixth minute when Mandeep Singh teamed up with Akashdeep Singh to create a chance but the latter's attempt was cleared off the line by Polish goalkeeper Maciej Pacanowski.

It took India 20 minutes to earn their first penalty corner but Harmanpreet Singh's try was saved by the Polish custodian.

A minute later, India secured another penalty corner and this time Manpreet scored off a rebound after Amit Rohidas's initial flick was blocked by Pacanowski.

Another short corner came India's way two minutes later but they wasted the chance while going for variation.

Poland stunned India in the 25th minute to draw level, courtesy a defensive lapse from Hardik Singh, who failed to stop Joseph Hillyer's pass from outside the D and got a deflection which fell in front of Hulboj, who made no mistake in slotting the ball home.

But Poland's joy was short-lived as India restored their lead within a minute when Manpreet scored his second goal of the day after a fine one-touch play with Simranjeet Singh on the right flank to go into the breather leading by a slender margin.

Six minutes into the third quarter, India extended the scoreline when Harmanpreet neatly converted a penalty corner.

The Indian earned another penalty corner minutes later but wasted the opportunity.

The third quarter was all about India's misfiring forwardline as despite creating numerous scoring opportunities the strikers lacked in finishing.

India will take on Uzbekistan in its last pool match on June 10, while Poland, who defeated the Uzbeks 4-0 in their opener, will face Russia on Sunday.

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