India outplay Austria 4-3 to end European tour on high

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Amstelveen [Netherlands] : The Indian men’s hockey team registered a sensational 4-3 win against Austria in their final encounter of the Europe Tour here last evening.

India ended the tour with three wins and two loses. It was double goals by Ramandeep Singh (25′, 32′) and Chinglensana Singh Kanjugam (37′, 60′) that saw India through against Austria.

After two successive wins against World No.4 The Netherlands, the Indian Men’s Hockey team made a steady start against Austria. While they kept most of the ball possession, penetrating into the striking circle was hard to come by. In fact, it was Austria who took an early lead through Oliver Binder’s goal in the 14th minute to end the quarter 1-0.

India,however,made amends in the second quarter when they won a penalty corner in the 25th minute. A clever variation saw comeback-man Amit Rohidas pass the ball to Ramandeep Singh who deflected the ball into the circle to equalise the score to 1-1.

The 10-minute halftime break saw India comeback into the game as a stronger team with better attack. They made better circle penetrations and a brilliant breakthrough came in when Ramandeep scored a rollicking field goal in the 32nd minute. It was a reverse hit from the top of circle which flew past the Austrian goalkeeper to give India a 2-1 lead. India found another chance to score when Mandeep Singh helped win a penalty cornerthrough a stick check. But the opportunity when amiss with the ball hitting the cross bar. However, another opportunity created by Mandeep again was successfully converted by Vice Captain Chinglensana Singh in the 37th minute through a superb variation by drag-flicker Varun Kumar.

Going into the final 15 minutes, India had a comfortable 3-1 lead. But a determined Austria put one past the India goalkeeper when they won a penalty corner and Michael Korper converted it successfully in the 53rd minute to set up a close finish. Though India had won a penalty corner only minutes before- thanks to forward Gurjant Singh, injector Manpreet Singh sent the ball slightly wide. With a little over eight minutes left, forward Lalit Upadhyay found a great opportunity to score. But was brilliantly saved by the Austrian goalkeeper. Austria then pushed India on the back foot when they scored in the 55th minute via Patrick Schmidt to equalise 3-3. It was a tense final few minutes with India pushing hard for a goal. With just 10 seconds left for the final hooter, Chinglensana scored a sensational goal when Ramandeep made a brilliant circle penetration to find Gurjant Singh. A cross hit by Gurjant saw Chinglensana deflect the ball into the goal and seal the match with winning points.

On August 18, the Indian Men’s Hockey team will return from the Europe Tour.

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