Bangladesh close in on top two; China see off Fiji
Men’s Hero Hockey World League Round Two 2013, day three round-up
Ireland – India 2-3 (half-time: 1-1)
Dharamvir Singh’s superb backhand shot handed India a prized win over main men’s Hero Hockey World League Round Two 2013 rivals Ireland to go clear at the top of the group after day three.
It shaded a titanic tussle which saw precious little daylight between the sides throughout. The hosts hit their stride earlier in the tie and, from their fourth penalty corner, Rupinder Pal Singh found the bottom corner. Ireland steadied, though, and were back on terms in the 27th minute. It was an unorthodox move as the ball was slipped left to Conor Harte who turned on his left and slotted home for parity which lasted until the second half.
India started the second half in the ascendancy and retook the lead from VR Raghunath’s ripper of a drag-flick, picking out the glove side this time. The pendulum swung once more back Ireland’s way and a very nice transfer out to the left to Eugene Magee opened up the space for him to fire home from a narrow angle.
That came with 20 minutes remaining and plenty of chances for either side to win it. Ireland’s chances were mainly from the corners but India’s speed on the counter-attack was a sight to behold and the clincher came with 14 minutes left. Mandeep Singh was cut loose down the left and he picked out Dharamvir Singh at the top of the circle from where he found a route through David Harte. There were more chances to make the game safe but the towering goalkeeper stood tall to keep out Danish Mujtaba and SV Sunil while PR Sreejesh denied Magee’s drive.
In a nerve-wracking denouement, Ireland won three penalty corners in the closing two minutes but none yielded a goal and so they now sit second in the table, level with China and Bangladesh while India are three points clear.
Fiji – China 1-4 (half-time: 0-1)
Fiji put in a huge defensive performance to give China, ranked 51 places above them, a huge fright before the world number 19 side eventually prevailed. They scored two penalty corners in the last 11 minutes to get out of a sticky situation on day three of the men’s Hero Hockey World League Round Two 2013.
After two double-fugure defeats, Adrian Smith’s diving touch garnered the Pacific islanders their first goal of the competition, making it 1-2 in the 55th minute to have the side dreaming of a potential draw. But flicks from Mi Ji and Tao Li eased China’s nerves and saw them claim their second win of the campaign having seen off Oman on day one. They hit the front 13 minutes in when they evaded three loose baseline tackles and Yanjun Su pounced on the loose ball for his second goal of the tournament, lifting over Eric Niumata.
Fiji, though, had shown they were ready for the fight, Leevan Dutta pumping an effort into the sideboard while they also earned a pair of penalty corners. China, though, were controlling most of the ball but got few shots off from play.
Su doubled their lead from a 37th minute corner – their fourth of the game – but it was cancelled out when Fiji worked a clever switch left to Fabiano Rupeni and he reverted the ball back to player of the match Smith to guide home. China settled, though, won a couple of late set pieces and saw the win home.
Bangladesh – Oman 4-1 (half-time: 0-0)
High on confidence from their victory over China, Bangladesh notched their second win of the men’s Hero Hockey World League Round Two 2013 in Delhi with a sterling second half show against Oman. Chances were scarce in the first half with neither side able to break the deadlock.
But Bangladesh wasted little time in the second period, twin strikers Rashel Mahmud and Puskor Khisa combining once again. The former arrowed a reverse-stick cross into the latter’s path and he added the necessary touch. Sheikh Md Nannu slammed in the second whilst moving away from goal, a sweet back foot shot in the 51st minute while Rashel Mahmud extended the lead to three with a drag-flick.
On the swivel, Oman’s Anwar Juman Saad pulled one back with five minutes to go from a corner move but Bangladesh warded off any revivial hopes when Mahmud’s sharp volley rebounded for Mohammad Moinul Islam to tap in.Back