22 Sep 2013

Sultan of Johor Cup Hockey: India pip England 2-1 Featured

India overcame bouts of first half inconsistency to prevail over debutants England 2-1 in their opening tie of the 3rd Sultan of Johor Cup hockey tournament being played at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

 

Playing on a sunny day, it was England, who weaved some sharp moves early on and even forced a penalty corner, but nothing came out of it as Indian goalkeeper Harjot Singh foiled the effort of Andy Bull with a superb save.

The Gregg Clark-coached Indian colts appeared nippy in patches and played with an attacking bent of mind.

Ramandeep Singh, who made his senior international debut in the 9th Asia Cup last month, provided the impetus upfront with the likes of Satbir Singh and Talwinder Singh lending support.

India gradually controlled possession after weathering the early English raids and went into the lead in the 7th minute when Ramandeep Singh deflected home a razor-sharp pass from Amit Rohidas.

Indian captain Manpreet Singh did not take the field from the starting hooter as he was slightly under the weather.

England, who mostly attacked from the baseline, showed purpose more in midfield but seemed to run out of ideas once they entered the Indian ‘D’.

England earned their second short corner but that opportunity went a begging with the Indian defence standing tall.

India had a great opportunity to double the lead when Satbir Singh, playing in his third consecutive Sultan of Johor Cup, unleashed a fierce shot but England goalkeeper thwarted that attempt.

India looked good to hold on to the solitary goal lead till half-time but England gave some jittery moments with a final-minute penalty corner.

England could not profit from it as Brendan Creed’s shot was saved by goalie Harjot Singh after they took the short corner indirectly.

India hung on to the 1-0 lead at the break.

The Blueshirts, who failed to win a single penalty corner in the first half, were awarded their first one when Ramanadeep Singh created that opportunity from the right, which resulted into a follow-on PC but the effort went down the drain.

India looked more fluent in their attacks and earned their third penalty corner, but Amit Rohidas’ drag-flick sailed wide.

The last year’s runners-up made up for three short corner goof-ups and soon made it 2-0 when Talwinder Singh tapped home in the 50st minute after being set up by Amon Mirash Tirkey and Prabhdeep Singh.

India messed up their fourth PC when they tried out the indirect route in the absence of Amit Rohidas (who was on the bench at that time) – the setpiece was handed by Ross Jones who unfairly tackled Pradeep Mor.

England finally made their sixth penalty corner count when Sam French’s flick deflected off Surender’s stick into the Indian cage.

It may be worth recalling that hosts Malaysia had won the inaugural Sultan of Johor Cup in 2011, pipping Australia 3-2 on golden goal.

Germany had won the second Sultan of Johor Cup in 2012, edging out India 3-2. Significantly, the defending champions are not taking part in the 2013 edition.

India play Argentina in their second match on Monday

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