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Johor Cup U-21 hockey: India rally to down Kiwis

November 09, 2011 18:45 IST

India stayed in contention for a podium finish in the Sultan of Johor Cup under-21 hockey tournament after a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over New Zealand in Johur Bahru, Malaysia, on Wednesday.

Malak Singh scored for India in the 28th and 37th minute, after Kane Russel had put the Kiwis ahead in the sixth.

After thrashing arch-rivals Pakistan 5-1 on Tuesday, India needed to garner full points against the Kiwis and they did just that in a cliff-hanger at the Taman Daya stadium.

With just a match to go against hosts Malaysia on Friday, India have a chance of reaching the final of the competition, though much could depend on the other results as well.

India conceded an early penalty-corner goal to New Zealand. Amit Rohidas charged out for the first penalty-corner, but the flick hit his foot and that led to a second one, which Russel scored to put the Kiwis ahead.

But the Indian colts came back strongly as their midfield and forwardline combined well to penetrate the rival circle a number of times.

India forced three penalty-corners before half-time -- a true measure of its aggression -- but Sampath, Amit and Harpreet took the drills without success.

However, seven minutes before half-time, shortly after M Gunasekar got injured and was substituted, Hawkish Malak Singh pounced on a rebound to score the equaliser.

Malak got his second goal when he latched on to a gentle pass from Satbir, kneeling low to tap the ball home and score what turned out to be the match-winner.

The 37th minute goal led to intense play from both sides and the Indian defense came under severe pressure, but Harpreet Singh and Rohidas rose to the occasion.

The action-filled second half, however, did not show up anything on the board though both teams came close to scoring on many occasions.