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India concede late goal to lose against England

Posted on Jun 02 2014 | IANS

The Hague, June 2 : India conceded another last minute goal as they went down 1-2 to England for their second consecutive loss in the FIH Hockey World Cup at the Kyocera Stadium here Monday.

India put on a vastly improved show but a 69th minute goal by Simon Mantell from a rebound off a penalty corner, that was well saved by goalie P.R.Sreejesh, cost them badly.

It was a spirited performance by the Indians as they were determined to bounce back from the 2-3 loss to Belgium in their opening match.

India started off well but England went into the lead in the 27th minute after Mark Gleghorne converted a penalty corner.

But the Indians were back in the reckoning within four minutes through Dharamvir Singh, who received a pin-point pass from skipper Sardar Singh and swung around to hit it straight into the net from the top of the circle.

Till the 68th minute, the Indians did well and the match looked to be heading towards a 1-1 draw. But a foul by Gurbaj Singh gave England the winner from the penalty corner.

The Indians did contest the penalty corner but it was upheld after a referral and Mantell scored from the rebound after Sreejesh had put on a brilliant effort to thwart the penalty corner shot.

India were the livelier going forwards but England's defence was resolute. India always threatened to score the spectacular goal, in fact they were forced to take shots that were either wide, high or easy for goalkeeper George Pinner to deal with.

In the opening minutes Mandeep Singh and Manpreeet Singh kept the England defence busy with their darting runs and mercurial dribbling skills and two penalty corners resulted from their mesmerising creativity.

Sardar was a constant thorn in the England side, but it was Akashdeep Singh who nearly broke the deadlock with a shot that whistled inches past Pinner's goal.

England lost the services of Dan Fox when Rupinder Singh struck a penalty corner with force and caught Fox on the kneecap. Fox left the field on a stretcher and played no further part in the game.

The second half remained goalless, but was anything but dull. Pinner was the busier goalkeeper, being forced to meet Mandeep Singh on the edge of the circle and then watching a rocketing shot from Yuvraj Walmiki whistle just wide of the England post.

At the other end of the field Ashley Jackson and Barry Middleton spearheaded England attacks, but found Sreejesh in good form in the India goal.

With just over one minute left on the clock, and against the run of play, England won a penalty corner and Mantell was on hand to fire the rebound home, netting England's second goal and, more importantly, three points.

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