Putting behind their disappointing opening match loss against Germany, a valiant India rallied from a goal deficit to register a 2-1 win over Ireland in their second game of the six-nations invitational hockey tournament.
The win gave India their first success in the tournament after having lost 0-4 to Germany in their opening fixture.
Both the teams started cautiously, playing the ball on the flanks and using the width to dictate play.
India sat deeper in their zone and allowed Ireland to hold the ball, hoping to score via counters.
Ireland took the lead as early as in the fourth minute through Kyle Good’s goal.
Stunned by the goal, India rallied strongly and earned their first penalty corner of the game in the 19th minute.
Rupinder Pal Singh’s initial flick was stopped by Ireland goalkeeper David Harte, but Talwinder Singh, lurking inside the circle, pounced on the rebound and slotted the ball into goal to level the scores in the 22nd minute.
Despite India’s attacking intent and skill on full display, Ireland held on to go into the break on level terms.
It wasn’t to last for long though, as India took the lead within minutes of the third quarter when skipper Sardar Singh scored in the 32nd minute with a fine deflection after he was beautifully set up by VR Raghunath, Birender Lakra and Surender Kumar.
India had several chances in the half but first Rupinder and then Raghunath were denied from penalty corners.
India played the final quarter strongly, with an eye on not conceding a goal as they looked to launch counters to kill the game.
Speaking after the game India’s chief coach Roelant Oltmans said, “We started off slow today, much like yesterday, but quickly came back and found our rhythm. The good thing is we played strongly once we took the lead and had several chances to secure the game, an area we need to work on.”