Indian men’s hockey team finished a disappointing fourth at the Commonwealth Games after it struggled to breach a stout England defence to lose the bronze medal match 1-2 here on Saturday.
England avenged their 3-4 loss to India in the group stage after Sam Ward (7th minute, 43rd minute) struck twice for the winners, while Varun Kumar (27th) was the lone goal scorer for India.
India had won a silver medal each in the previous two editions, ending runners-up to Australia on both occasion. “We came here for a medal, but we didn’t achieve that. We played really bad in this tournament and I really don’t feel like going anywhere tonight. We are so disappointed, we did not expect this result,” said captainManpreet Singh.
Though India had better ball possession in the initial minutes of the first quarter, England were far more dominating with intense attack.
An Indian infringement gave away the first penalty corner of the match. Though Sam Ward’s attempt was blocked by India’s first rusher Amit Rohidas, in his second attempt Ward kept it low and found the right corner of the goal to help England take a 1-0 lead in the 7th minute.
With good man-to-man marking by England, making successful forays into the striking circle for the Indian forwards was hard to come by.
India’s first breakthrough came in the 26th minute when a well-thought out variation between Rohidas and Varun fetched them a much-needed equaliser.
Scores levelled at 1-1, the third quarter was closely fought. While India began on an attacking note with Lalit taking a shot on goal in the 31st minute, Mandeep couldn’t find the right deflection to score.
Though India’s attack picked up steam, defensive errors on their part gave away two crucial penalty corner’s to England in the 39th and 42nd minute. While Ward’s attempt was brilliantly saved by Sreejesh, England relied on their number one drag-flicker in the 43rd minute to take the strike.
This time, though first rusher Rohidas successfully blocked the drag-flick, but on rebound Ward used a strong back hand shot to once again find the right corner of the goal. Down by a goal, India desperately looked for opportunities to score but England’s defence was relentless.
Forward Akashdeep Singh took an ambitious shot on goal but missed the mark in the 45th minute. Seconds later, skipper Manpreet attempted a shot but failed to get the goal.
England, meanwhile, won two more penalty corners in the 50th and 54th minute but on both occasions different variations could not help in stretching their lead.
Indian women hockey team suffered a humiliating 0-6 loss to England in the their bronze medal match to finish the championship on a disappointing note.
India could convert none of the five penalty corners and their defence line-up cracked under pressure in the final quarter to go out of the tournament on an embarrassing note.
India had earlier beaten England 2-1 in Pool matches.
It is now third straight time that Indian women’s hockey team will return empty-handed from the Games. Last time it stood on podium was in 2006 when it won a silver.
Sophie Gray stood out for England with three field goals while Laura Unsworth, Hollie Pearne-Webb and captain Alexandra Danson struck a goal each in England’s commendable victory. (PTI)