India came from behind to beat Bangladesh 5-1 for their fifth consecutive win in the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 and move into the third round of the league at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here Sunday.
Danish Mujtaba (14th, 64th) scored a brace while Rupinder Pal Singh (32nd), Akashdeep Singh (50th) and Malak Singh (58th) scored a goal apiece. Mamamur Rahman struck the solitary goal for Bangladesh in the fifth minute.
Besides India, Ireland, who finished second with a 4-0 win over China, also made it to the third round of the World League, which is a qualifying tournament for the 2014 World Cup in the Hague. India finished with 15 points and Ireland 12.
Coming into the match, India had virtually qualified for the next round. But in their last outing, they were up against some strong challenge from the neighbours, who are ranked lowly at 40th in the FIH rankings.
Bangladesh put on a tough fight in the first half and also took a surprise lead in the fifth minute with Rahman firing in a low-flick to sound the board.
Stunned by an early goal, India launched a wave of attacks but Bangladesh goalkeeper Mohammed Zahid Hossain made some brilliant moves to deny them a goal.
India, however, drew parity within 10 minutes with Danish deflecting in a straight hit from V.R. Raghunath. At the half-hour mark, Danish earned a penalty corner for Rupinder Pal Singh to convert as India went into lead in the 31st minute.
India could have scored more in the first half had it not been for the profligacy of Mandeep Singh. The youngster had two great opportunities but messed them up badly.
In the 23rd minute, Mandeep missed a sitter as he had only the goalie to beat but his shot hit the left post. He again came close, two minutes before the breather, as he entered the circle from the left but was tackled easily by Mohammed Sarowar Hossain.
India came out with a better plan in the second half and the floodgates opened in the last 20 minutes as they slammed in three goals in a space of 13 minutes.
India coach Michael Nobbs said he was happy with the youngsters and was also impressed with the consistency of the team since the Champions Trophy.
“In this tournament our first aim was to try and improve as a team and qualify for the next round, which we have achieved. Youngsters like Malak Singh and Mandeep Singh have played really well and we have to keep trying out young players to build a larger pool,” he said.
India skipper Sardar Singh was adjudged the man of the tournament was given a cash award of Rs.3 lakh while Danish was the man of the match.
Raghunath, who was the defender of the tournament, was also the joint top scorer with Ireland striker Alan Southern with eight goals each. Irishman David Harte was the goalkeeper of the tournament.
Indian girls through to Hockey World League Round Three
A solitary strike by Rani Rampal helped India beat Russia 1-0 in their last league game a qualify for the third round by finishing on top of the women’s Hero Hockey World League Round 2 at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here Sunday.
It was a brilliant goal by Rani as she winked two defenders and sounded the board from a packed defence in the 51st minute. Rani was also adjudged as the player of the match.
It was one of the several attempts India made at breaching the Russian defence but found it rather hard.
Coming into the last day and after Japan had beaten Malaysia 4-0 to book their berth in the next round, India needed just a draw against Russia.
But the hosts had to work hard against Russia, who are ranked eight places behind them at World No.12. India, however, had to blame themselves for failing to make the best use of the spaces in the mid-field.
India did earn the penalty corners, but Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Rani and Anupa Barla also had their shots saved by the Russian defence. On one occasion, defender Olesya Petrova had to make a goal-line save from a melee.
Russia threatened in patches and also had their share of chances by winning a couple of corners late in the second half that showed their fighting spirit. But with 19 minutes left for the hooter, Rani sealed it in favour of the Indians.
Russia again close to spoiling India’s party with Maria Nikitina’s sliding shot but goalkeeper Yogita Bali did brilliantly to block it.
India, however, held on to their lead and moved to the next round. They were tied with Japan on 13 points each but took the title by virtue of having won mores games.
Rani emerged as the top-scorer with seven goals to her name while Jaspreet Kaur was given total cash prize of Rs.3 lakh for being the best player of the tournament.