After a dramatic shootout victory over a battling England in the FIH Pro League match at the Kalinga Stadium on Saturday, India may regret losing a point rather than winning two. Sam Ward’s penalty stroke with a minute to go snatched a 3-3 draw for England and forced the match into a penalty shootout.
Sam Ward’s penalty stroke with a minute to go snatched a 3-3 draw for England and forced the match into a penalty shootout.
The suspense continued into the shootout, which was decided by a penalty-stroke miss by Ward, who flashed the ball wide. After each set of five ended 2-2, the final score after the shootout was 3-2.
India leads the table with 18 points from nine matches, followed by Germany (17 from eight) in second and the Netherlands (16 from six) in third. England are a distant seventh in the nine-nation league with seven points from five matches.
India would be wise to study the rule book after Mandeep’s goal from a penalty corner was disallowed because the first hit was too high following Harmanpreet’s slip ball instead of going for the drag-flick himself. England were chasing the match without a goalkeeper, and Mandeep’s goal would have counted had he avoided a hit on goal.
Pathak then played the ball in the sudden-death shootout after losing his helmet in a duel with Christopher Griffith – a rule violation that resulted in a penalty stroke.
Ward, fortunately for India, squandered the opportunity, giving India a bonus point and providing Pathak with a huge sense of relief.
India will also reflect on a patchy performance after a determined, combative England team that thrived in the hot and humid conditions.
In a match in which fortunes ebbed and flowed for either side, the visitors held off an Indian PC for 51 minutes and scored twice from set pieces themselves.
In the seventh minute, Nick Bandurak, who many are questioning why he has only five caps, scored from England’s second penalty corner, beating PR Sreejesh and right-hand postman Abhishek Lakra.
At that point, the scoreline reflected England’s advantage in possession.
With yet another standout performance, young goalkeeper Oliver Payne contributed significantly to England’s slim lead – a performance he would maintain throughout the game.
Payne denied Manpreet, the former captain, who attempted to work his way to goal from the baseline, but Indian pressure paid off as the first quarter came to a close.
In the 14th minute, Shamsher Singh’s assist from the baseline found Abhishek’s backhander crashing into the left-hand side of Payne’s goal for the equaliser.
Shamsher then became the scorer in the 27th minute after Shilanand Lakra’s go-ahead goal was upheld following a lost England referral.
England rallied when Bandurak added a second goal with a powerful strike to the right of Pathak’s goal.
It was a battle of attrition in a scoreless third quarter in which Sreejesh kept Bandurak, who was on the verge of a hat-trick, at bay from a penalty corner.
In the fourth quarter, India came out firing on all cylinders, forcing their first penalty corner in the 51st minute – the hosts’ trump card given their drag-flicking wealth.
It resulted in two repeats and a goal, with Harmanpreet scoring his 11th of the series, and 99th of his career, cementing his position at the top of the list.
A fourth penalty corner was awarded to India, but Mandeep’s hasty lifted shot into goal was disallowed. As the minutes ticked away, England’s strength on the ball and tenacious possession play hinted at some late drama.
A penalty stroke with a minute to go, confirmed after India lost their referral, ensured a tense end to regulation time.
The braveheart with impaired vision, Ward knocked off his mask and beat Pathak to secure at least a point for England.
In to the shootout, Harmanpreet shot wide of Payne’s goal on India’s first attempt.
England’s goals came from Christopher Griffiths and James Albery, while India’s came from Raj Kumar Pal and Abhishek.
The shootout entered sudden death after David Goodfield and Vivek Sagar Prasad failed in the final set of fives.
Harmanpreet, voted player of the match before the shootout, failed the first sudden-death attempt. Griffith followed suit, and when Abhishek scored, the onus was squarely on Ansell.
Pathak did well to stop the striker’s attempt, but with his helmet on the ground, he went for the ball rather than fix his headgear, and umpire Raghu Prasad signalled a stroke to the surprise of the young goalkeeper.
Ward, who scored from the spot in regulation time, failed to convert, shooting wide of the Indian goal to give the home side a vital bonus point.
The two sides meet again later today (Sunday) when England will look to inflict revenge.