Considered an inform team, India was winning hearts ever since ball was rolled on Rio Turn notwithstanding they won or lost. The steam of confidence got a setback today when the Sardar Singh led outfit, despite showing aggressive mindset, missed opportunities to draw Canada 2-2. India needed a win to remain unchallenged in its third rung in the points table in its pool so that to avoid pool topper in the crossover quarterfinal.
Now, India’s status as to its position in the table will hinge on the outcome Argentina – Ireland match. If Argentina wins it will add three points to its present five and pip India from its third spot. If Ireland wins, it will have dream entry into the quarters, and India will retain its present third position.
Its difficult to read the mind of Indian coach Rolent Oltmans at this time. He did not put his trumps upfront, but allowed all the known forwards to their act of scoring, giving full chance to go for field attack.
However, the forwards failed to score enough to emerge winners. When Akashdeep Singh struck off a feed from Sardar Singh two minutes before half time, Indian fans had a relief. But Canada, which was returning every attack with fiercer reply, got a penalty corner of which Scott Tupper sounded the board. Just within 36 seconds after Akashdeep act.
Defender V Raghunath pushed a ball well from his own 25y area, which reached Ramandeep Singh in a lightening speed. The forward who was facing the goalie turned, sat almost before putting his stick in perfect angle to deflect the ball into the roof (2-1).
Thereafter, both sides played as if its their last game, with missing out goal bearing moves aplenty.
The Pan Americans came back into the game, with good mesmerising surges from Googan of course, got another penalty corner, after a freehit into D hit the right foot of Harmanpreet in the circle. Scott Tupper made his brace, like he did against Ireland the other day, through immaculate conversion of penalty corner (2-2) in the 52nd minute.
India even played without goalie in the last four minutes, giving Raghu the yellow shirt. It did not yield any dividends. Yellow card to Nikkin Thimmaiah, who fell on a forward, too spoilt Indian spirit. India played with a player less in the last ten minutes’ spell.
India survived many tense moments and settled for the draw with which the players themselves would not be happy.
|… courtesy stick2hockey|