Double delight for India's hockey teams
Country's men's hockey team avenge their round robin clash loss as they hammer New Zealand 5-0, while women's side register 2-1 win over Japan to win Olympic Test Event in Tokyo
Tokyo: The Indian men's hockey team won the Olympic Test event here yesterday, beating New Zealand 5-0 to avenge the loss it endured in their round robin clash. Captain Harmanpreet Singh (7th minute) set the ball rolling before Shamsher Singh (18th minute), Nilakanta Sharma (22nd minute), Gursahibjit Singh (26th minute) and Mandeep Singh (27th minute) scored for India at the Oi Hockey Stadium here.
India had lost 1-2 to New Zealand earlier in round robin league-stage. "We played very well. We managed to score our opportunities at the start of the game," Harmanpreet said after the triumph.
Tough final expected
"I think the final was always going to be tough, we lost to New Zealand earlier. But we had been having practice sessions after that and worked on our mistakes to win today," he added. Both teams began the match on a cautious note by turning over the ball in the mid-field. India won a penalty corner in the seventh minute, but couldn't capitalise on the opportunity.
The Indian women's team members celebrate a goal. Pics/Hockey India's official Twitter handle
However, skipper Harmanpreet didn't miss out on a re-awarded penalty corner. He executed a perfect dragflick to put India in the lead. The Indian team continued to hold possession and put tremendous pressure on the New Zealand defense as they ended the first quarter at 1-0. New Zealand managed to make only two circle entries in the second quarter as the Indian team scored three more goals.
Nilakanta found the back of the net in the 22nd minute before Gursahibjit and Mandeep scored in quick succession. Vivek Prasad intercepted the ball brilliantly to assist a goal for Gursahibjit and Mandeep converted a penalty corner just before the half-time whistle. After an action-packed first half, the intensity dropped from both sides. New Zealand tried to make a few inroads in the third quarter as they took a shot in the 37th minute which went wide of the post.
Jarmanpreet Singh saved a penalty corner in the next minute as India and New Zealand played out a goalless quarter but the former held the lead at 5-0. Meanwhile, the Indian women's hockey team won the Olympic Test event with Navjot Kaur and Lalremsiami leading the side to a 2-1 win over Japan in the final.
Lalremsiami scores winner
Navjot Kaur (11th minute) opened the scoring to put India ahead but the lead was neutralised within a minute as Minami Shimizu (12') scored for the hosts. Lalremsiami (33') struck the winning goal for India.
India had a few chances in the first few minutes, with the likes of Vandana Katariya and Navjot combining well on the attacking front, but could not produce a goal-scoring opportunity. Japan also tried to create some opportunities of their own, with goalscorer Shimizu coming close to scoring her second of the match, but India defended well.
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