Unbeaten India advances to Round 3

Y.B. Sarangi
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ON TARGET:Danish Mujtaba scored one of the goals in India’s victory over Bangladesh on Sunday.— PHOTO: Rajeev Bhatt
ON TARGET:Danish Mujtaba scored one of the goals in India’s victory over Bangladesh on Sunday.— PHOTO: Rajeev Bhatt

India completed its Hero Hockey World League (HWL) Round 2 engagements with a 5-1 victory over Bangladesh at the National Stadium here on Sunday.

India, which remained unbeaten in the event, finished at the top of the table with 15 points from five matches and qualified for the third round of the HWL. Ireland, which ended up at the second spot with 12 points, also advanced to the next stage.

In a keenly-fought first half, Bangladesh gave a sturdy performance and kept the flamboyant Indian strikers, led by right-winger S.V. Sunil, in check.

Bangladesh maintained a scattered field, marked every player well and cleared the ball swiftly to frustrate the Indians. The neighbouring country stunned the Indians by taking an early lead.

Mohammad Mamunur Rahman Chayan hit the target off his team's first penalty corner in the fifth minute.

India laboured a lot before getting the equaliser. V.R. Raghunath's slapshot from about 30 yards was deflected in by Danish Mujtaba in the 15th minute.

The host's desperation to gain control over the proceedings was clear as Bangladesh, ranked 29 slots below the 11th-placed India, continued to protect its citadel with exemplary dedication.

Rupinderpal Singh converted the second short corner through a high flick and helped India take the lemon break with a 2-1 lead.

The grinding pressure from the home side resulted in three penalty corners in the initial phase of the second half.

India widened the lead when Akashdeep Singh put Harbir Singh's cross from the right into the post in the 50th minute.

With the Bangladeshi resistance losing steam, Malak Singh and Danish shot home and set India for its fifth successive win.

Sardar best player

Indian men’s team captain Sardar Singh was adjudged the player of the tournament on Sunday.

Indian drag-flicker V.R. Raghunath and Irish striker Alan Sothern, who scored eight goals each, shared the top goal-scorer’s award. Raghunath also bagged the best defender’s award.

In the women’s event, India’s Jaspreet Kaur was declared the player of the tournament. She also claimed the best defender’s award.

Hockey India and title sponsor Hero gave Sardar and Jaspreet Rs. 3 lakh each as cash award.

The results: Oman 7 (Samir Haliyas Al Shibli 2, 69, Ahmed Sabeel Al Balushi 22, 42, Mahmood Salim Al Hasani 40, Mohd. Hubais Al Shar 48, own goal 68) bt Fiji 3 (Hector Smith 2, James Saqacala 4, Leevan Dutta 14); Ireland 4 (Peter Brown 12, Shane O Donoghue 35+, 39, 50) bt China 0; India 5 (Danish Mujtaba 15, 64, Rupinderpal Singh 32, Akashdeep Singh 50, Malak Singh 58) bt Bangladesh 1 (Mohammad Mamunur Rahman Chayan 5).

Other individual awardees: Men: Player of the tournament : Sardar Singh (Ind); Top goal-scorers: V.R. Raghunath (Ind) and Alan Sothern (Ire); Best defender: Raghunath; Best Goalkeeper: David Harte (Ire); Best forward: Alan Sothern (Ire); Best midfielder: Rashel Mahmud (Ban).

Women: Player of the tournament and Best defender: Jaspreet Kaur (Ind); Top goal-scorer: Ritu Rani (Ind); Best goalkeeper: Susana Mudunatagi (Fiji); Best forward: Siti Rahmah Othman (Mal); Best midfielder: Sachimi Iwao (Jpn).

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