FIH Pro League: Late brace by Mandeep Singh helps India down NZ by 4-3 in thriller

ANIUpdated: Saturday, October 29, 2022, 02:52 PM IST
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Indian hockey captain Manpreet Singh | ANI

The senior men's hockey team bounced back from being two goals behind to defeat New Zealand by 4-3 in its opening match of the FIH Pro League 2022-23 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

On Friday, Mandeep Mor (13'), captain Harmanpreet Singh (41') and Mandeep Singh (51', 56') netted goals for India's while Sam Lane (22', 35'), Jake Smith (34') scored for New Zealand, as per Olympics.com.

Poor start for India

New Zealand looked better as a unit early into the game, making good use of the right flank and they restricted India to their own half of the field. As the game progressed, Team India started to get some momentum and were able to create some pressure on their opposition.

The Kiwi goalkeeper Dominic Dixon had earlier denied two goals to India but Mandeep Mor intervened to give his side an early lead in 13th minute. With this, he scored the maiden goal of his international career and also the first of the tournament.

In the second quarter, India was more aggressive but the Harmanpreet Singh-led side could not add more to its lead despite creating several chances. New Zealand, who had not made many chances for themselves, managed to level the scores in the 22nd minute.

Kiwis were given a penalty stroke after a foul by India. Sam Lane was able to convert the opportunity into a score-levelling goal. The teams walked into the break with the scoreline reading 1-1.

Both the teams tried to add another goal to their tally and it was the New Zealanders who got the lead, with Jake Smith smashing a lovely 34th-minute goal. Just a minute later, Lane scored his second goal of the match, making use of a penalty corner to double his side's lead.

Mandeep Singh was brought down inside New Zealand's circle, which gave India a penalty stroke which captain Harmanpreet sent past the goalkeeper in the 41st minute.

Sumit was given a yellow card just before the end of the third quarter and India had to play with one man down for almost seven minutes of the final quarter.

With a man up, Kiwis wanted to take advantage and attacked. But India defended resolutely and looked out for opportunities to counter-attack.

Majestic Mandeep

Mandeep Singh was able to score the equaliser for India in the 51st minute and gave the hosts a lead just five minutes later with a blazing shot past Dixon.

In the final few moments of the match, India was able to defend three back-to-back penalty corners to get the win.

India's next Pro League match is against Spain on October 30.

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