Junior Hockey World Cup: India beat South Africa 2-1 to top pool

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India beat s.africa to top the group and will face spain in quaters.

NEW DELHI: Favourites India continued their strong showing in the men’s Junior Hockey World Cup as they beat South Africa 2-1 in their last league game at the Major Dhyan Chand Astroturf Stadium in Lucknow on Monday.
With three wins in as many games, India colts topped pool D and will now face Spain in the quarterfinals. The last-eight contests will be played on Thursday, December 15.
India scored a goal each in both half through skipper Harjeet Singh (11th minute) and Mandeep Singh (55th) to win a tight contest, with South Africa scoring their goal in the 27th minute. Harjeet put India 1-0 up early in the game, scoring a brilliant field goal from the right flank, but after missing few clear chances the hosts went into the half-time break with the score reading 1-1.
South Africa found their equaliser well before the break when their penalty-corner specialist Kyle Lion-Cachet converted their first PC of the game superbly, hitting it low to the right of out-stretched India goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya.
Twenty minutes into the second half, Mandeep, who was a constant threat to South Africa goal, thundered in the winner for India with a reverse flick. For his brilliant performance in the Indian attack today, Mandeep was adjudged the man-of-the-match.
India dominated the proceedings from the word go, but they failed to increase the lead after Harjeet’s goal despite their relentless penetrations into the South African circle.
India’s first opportunity of the game came in the fifth minute when India forwards found themselves in the two-to-one situation just outside the opposition circle, but Parvinder Singh took little too much time to shoot with just goalkeeper in the front.
While, the best chance for South Africa came five minutes after Harjeet’s goal but the final shot was not powerful enough to create any difficulty for India goalie Dahiya, who blocked it easily. A minute later, India earned the first penalty corner of the match and it took a diving South Africa goalie Siyavuya Nolutshungu to stop a fine effort from Harmanpreet Singh.
India got another chance to regain the lead in the 31st minute but Gurjant Singh’s reverse flick went just wide of the post. And India made a mess of the second penalty corner chance just before half-time, when they failed to stop the ball rolled in from the back.
The dismal state in the taking PCs continued for India in the second half too as they made a mess of the third chance in the 49th minute, failing to trap the ball again. But Mandeep created another chance to increase the lead in the 62nd minute only for South Africa skipper Alex Stewart to defend it gallantly to negate the effort. India survived a penalty corner chance three minutes to the final hooter when Lion-Cachet shot it wide in what it turned out to be their final chance to level the match.

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