Hockey Junior World Cup: India rally to beat Spain 2-1 , enter semis
After missing numerous chances, India found the target twice from the penalty corner late in the match to down fighting Spain 2-1 to enter the semi-finals
Team India players celebrate after beating Spain 2-1 in the Junior World Cup hockey quarter-final encounter in Lucknow yesterday. Pic/PTI
Lucknow: After missing numerous chances, India found the target twice from the penalty corner late in the match to down fighting Spain 2-1 to enter the semi-finals of the 11th Junior World Cup Hockey Championship at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium here yesterday.
They now play Australia today, without any time to rest and recover from a draining encounter.
Australia edged past The Netherlands 2-1 in a tough encounter to make it to the last four and set up a date with the hosts. The other semi-final will see Belgium clash with holders Germany. Belgium overcame stubborn Argentina 5-1 in shootout after the regulation time ended with a goal apiece. Germany played fluently to overcome England 4-2, with the latter getting their goals in the last five minutes.
Plethora of missed chances
In the match of the day, India had many gilt-edged early chances, including two penalty corners, but they just could not convert them into goal. Much against the run of play, Spain got their first and only penalty corner in the 22nd minute and Marc Serrahima deflected a Pol Parrilla hit into the goal past goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya, much to the disappointment of a full house.
Just before half-time India had a goal disallowed when Santa Singh lifted a ball into the circle, which was deftly put into the net by Mandeep Singh after the umpire blew the whistle for dangerous play.
With Spain holding steadfast to the lead in the second half, India were running out of both ideas and luck as penalty corner after penalty corner went begging. India finally got lucky with the sixth penalty corner when Varun Kumar’s firm hit rose from the Spanish goalkeeper’s pads right in front of the goal and pusher Simranjeet Singh was at the right place and the right time to put the ball in to draw parity. With a vocal crowd backing them to the hilt, that 57th minute goal galvanised the Indians into making repeated forays into the Spanish circle.
It was a matter of time before the rival citadel would crumble.
Harmanpreet wins it
Harmanpreet Singh who had failed with earlier six penalty corners, finally found the target with a rasping drive to clinch the winner in the 66th minute. Even in the final few minutes India did not relent and kept on attacking till the final hooter.
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