Junior Hockey World Cup: Spirited India beat Spain 2-1 to enter semis

India will now take on Australia in the semis while Belgium will face Germany in other semi-final on Friday. (Twitter Photo)India will now take on Australia in the semis while Belgium will face Germany in other semi-final on Friday. (Twitter Photo)

NEW DELHI: Favourites India bounced back from a one-goal deficit to topple Spain 2-1 in the quarter-final to make it to the semi-finals of the 11th Junior Hockey World Cup at the Major Dhyan Chand Astroturf Stadium in Lucknow on Thursday.

Marc Serrahima (22′) put Spain ahead in the first half but two second-half goals by Simranjeet Singh (57′) and Harmanpreet Singh (65′) sealed the match for India, who will now take on Australia in the semis while Belgium will face defending champions Germany in other semi-final on Friday.

Highlights

  1. Marc Serrahima put Spain ahead in the 22nd minute of the game.
  2. Simranjeet (57′) and Harmanpreet (65′) scored the goals for India.
  3. India will now take on Australia in the semi-final on Friday.

Indian players were on the attack right from the onset and they got their first penalty corner in the fourth minute of the game but was wasted as Harjeet failed to stop the ball properly.

India earned their second PC four minutes later and drag-flicker Varun Kumar hit a booming low hit but an alert Spanish custodian Albert Perez made a fine save diving on his right, denying India an early breakthrough.

India were dominating the proceedings during the major part of the first half and Spanish players were largely involved in defending, but in the middle of the action Spain got their first PC in the 22nd minute on a good counter attack.

Pol Parrilla took a rasping drag flick which got deflected by teammate Serrahima’s stick on its way to the goal, giving no chance to the Indian goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya. Spain got the much-needed adrenaline after the score as they went into the lemon-break with a 1-0 lead.

Desperate India launched series of attacks after change of ends but fell short of luck as Spanish goalkeeper came up with two great saves in the 44th minute. India exerted more pressure and soon benefitted by two-back-to-back PCs in the 46th minute.

Firstly, Harmanpreet’s shot went straight into goalkeeper’s hands and the second one (fourth PC of the match) was again wasted as this time Varun couldn’t stop the ball.

 Unmarked Neelakanta Sharma squandered a golden opportunity in the 54th minute when he failed to collect a long-ball sent by Harmanpreet inside the striking circle.
Confident India were in no mood to give up as they got their fifth PC in the 57th minute and Simranjeet restored parity to make it 1-1. With players failing to stop the ball during PCs, India tried a different variation this time and the shot was again saved by Spanish goalkeeper but an agile Simranjeet pounced on the rebound to tap it into the net.

India got their sixth PC in the 63rd minute but Spanish goalkeeper Perez once again came to the fore to deny the hosts. Drag-flicker Harmanpreet scored the all-important winner in the 65th minute via PC.

 

 

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