2012 Hero FIH Road to London tournament – Men – Day 2
Poland maintained its hope for a London berth, recovering from a loss to France on opening day to beat Canada, 3-2, in a tightly contested match. France had an easy task to collect its second victory, against Singapore, 9-0. India offered another goal-fest to the home crowd, winning against Italy, 8-1.
Canada vs. Poland: 2-3 (half-time: 1-2)
Canada was looking for a second win after clearly defeating Italy, 9-0, while Poland was looking for redemption after a narrow 2-1 loss to France. Both teams were immediately in action in a physical start to the game, Canada was more threatening while the Poles were relying on the dashes of their captain Dariusz Rachwalski to push the game up field.
Canada had an opportunity on a penalty-corner but Scott Tupper’s low flick was deflected wide. Poland opened the scoring on the next play, Mateusz Poltaszewski diving to deflect the ball out of reach of David Carter in the Canadian goal.
With two minutes to go in the half, Poland added a goal after a wild scramble in front of the Canadian goal and things started to look grim for Canada. But Canada got a glimmer of hope when Iain Smythe struck with five seconds left on the clock, after veterans Ken Pereira and Rob Short set up the play.
The match was an entertaining display of hockey, with the teams displaying excellent individual skills, and danger was shifting rapidly from one end to the other. Both goal-keepers were called into action with shots or deflections from close range, but the score did not change until the 55th minute, when Sukhwinder “Gabbar” Singh extracted the ball from a scramble to push it in goal, tying the score at two.
Canada had the chance to take the lead with two more penalty-corners, but could not convert. Both teams pushed hard to break the deadlock in the final minutes of play, and Dariusz Rachwalski grabbed the winner with a penalty-corner forced in the final seconds of the match.
Player of the Match was Mariusz Chyla, goal-keeper of Poland.
For more information on CAN v POL, click here.
Singapore vs. France: 0-9 (half-time: 0-5)
France had the momentum of its 2-1 win against Poland and wasexpecting to end the day with three more points. It did not take the French long to stake their claim, Martin Genestet received the ball alone in front of the goal-keeper after a swift exchange of passes on the left of the circle and easily deflecting it in goal within five minutes of play.
Sebastien Jean-Jean added a second goal in the 15th minute, also on a close range deflection, and the French never looked back, scoring five unanswered goals in the first period.
Singapore has a good reaction in second half, threatening the French circle for a while but with no real danger for Matthias Dierckens in the French goal. They desperately pushed for a goal in the last ten minutes of the match when France was down one player on a yellow card, but to no avail.
France scored four more goals in the second half, bringing the total to nine, with Genestet personally scoring five.
Before the match, Francois Scheefer(FRA) was recognized for his 100th International Cap.
Player of the Match was Martin Genestet of France.
For more information on SIN v FRA, click here.
India vs. Italy: 8-1 (half-time: 6-1)
The match started in front of a large crowd, warmed up by the victory of the Indian women’s team in the previous match. It did not take for India to open the scoring, Sandeep Singh wunk in a low flick after less than four minutes of play. Italy held on for a while but Raghunath Vokkaliga Ramachandra increased the lead with another penalty-corner.
Italy certainly did not give up and Alessandro Nanni silenced the crowd when he scored on penalty-corner to close the gap. This was however short lived, Sandeep Singh scored two additional penalty-corner goals in quick succession to complete his hat-trick.
After four penalty-corner goals, India finally scored a field goal in the 30th minute by Sunil Sowmarpet Vitalcharya. Gurwinder Singh Chandi added another one and India reached half-time with a commanding 6-1 lead.
Scoring was less prolific in second period, but the crowd was kept well entertained by non-stop action and a final 8-1 win India.
Player of the Match was Sunil Sowmarpet Vitalcharya of India.
For more information on IND v ITA, click here.
Schedule for Tuesday February 21:
14h00: Singapore vs. Canada
16h00: Poland vs. Italy
2h00: France vs. India