India got a step closer to the quarter-finals by beating World No 6 New Zealand 4-2 in a Pool A match of the 34th edition of the FIH Champions Trophy hockey here Sunday.
Having already beaten England (3-1) Saturday, India sit pretty atop Pool A and are the only team in the eight-team competition to have won both their matches.
India continued to be the surprise team as they are lowest ranked (11) in the nine-day tournament. India began poorly, scoring an own goal early into the match to give New Zealand a 1-0 lead. But in a fitting reply, India fired in two consecutive goals within a four-minute span for a 2-1 lead. Akashdeep Singh netted the first goal and Gurwinder Singh Chandi followed up by popping the ball between the legs of New Zealand goalie Devon Manchester in the 14th minute.
India built on their lead with 10 minutes left in the half when VR Raghunath drag flicked a penalty corner home for 3-1.
The Kiwis, wasting no time, fought back in the second-half. Nicholas Wilson fired in a shot from point-blank range just two minutes after resumption to make it 3-2. But that was the last of the Kiws fightback.
India thereafter dominated the second half but found a tough challenge in Manchester, who stood his ground in the NZ goal. It wasn’t until the 65th minute that India could breathe easy when Danish Mujtaba deflected in to make it 4-2 marker.
India next face Olympic champions and World No 1 Germany tomorrow.
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