FIH Pro League: India Squandered Lead Twice, Beat Great Britain In Shoot-Out

(MENAFN- IANS) London, June 3 (IANS) India squandered a 3-1 half-time lead and a 4-3 advantage in the fourth quarter before going on to prevail over Great Britain in a shoot-out and gained a bonus point in the FIH Hockey Pro League mini-matchup here on Saturday. After being held 4-4 in regulation time, India won the shootout 4-2 to register a morale-boosting victory.
India, who had lost both their matches in the previous week, came back strongly to beat reigning Olympic champion Belgium 5-1 on Friday. In the return clash with Great Britain, it looked like the Men in Blue were on their way to victory when they surged to a 3-1 lead by half-time.
The home side created plenty of early chances, forcing Indian goalkeeper Krishan Pathak to make several excellent saves.
India's first real chance came off their first penalty corner and captain Harmanpreet Singh made the most of it, scoring with a powerful drag flick into the left corner to give India the lead.
Britain responded almost immediately, earning a penalty corner just 25 seconds later. 'am Ward's drag flick caught a small deflection off the edge of Amit Rohidas's stick for the equaliser.
But the Indians came back at them in the second quarter with two great field goals before halftime, the first a bullet of a strike from Mandeep Singh for his 99th career goal, and the next a reserve stick strike from Sukhjeet Singh.
With just over five minutes to go in the third quarter, Ward made sure that GB stayed in touch with his 100th international goal. This time, Pathak just couldn't get enough stick on Ward's strike from the penalty corner.
An action-packed final quarter saw Ward completing his hat-trick with a field goal, so finding the equaliser for GB at 3-3.
India then regained the lead five minutes later, with Dilpreet Singh, Vivek Prasad and Abishek combining to put their team in front. But another beautiful strike from Ward for his first four-goal haul in GB colours took the match to a shootout. Rupert Shipperley and Phil Roper missed their chances while the Indians slotted in all of theirs to take the 4-2 win.
Vivek Prasad was named player of the match and said: "It was a really good effort for the team. It was well played by all the players. It was teamwork - that's why we won here, because [Great Britain] is a very tough team... I believe in myself, I'm not worried about who is the tallest or strongest but I believe in my skill and w"at I can do best," he was quoted as saying by the FIH in a release.
The win in the shoot-out helped India bag two points and move up to 24 points from 12 matches.
India now have 26 points from 12 matches, two less than the leaders Great Britain (26 off 21 points). Spain is in third position with 17 points.
With this, India brings down the curtains on their matches against Great Britain.
India now travel to the Netherlands for a FIH Pro League mini-tournament also involving Argentina. India will take on the Netherlands on June 7 and Argentina the next day.


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