CHANDIGARH, JAN 31 : It was a display of hockey revival as India outplayed New Zealand 2-0 with skipper Sandeep Singh emerging the man of the match on the opening day of the Four-Nation Punjab Gold Cup Invitational Hockey Tournament being organised by the Punjab Government at the Sector 42 Hockey Stadium here today.
India dominated the proceedings throughout with Black Stick men lacking in coordination and paying the price. Forward Deepak Thakur received a striking blow in the face as he tried to tackle a scorching pass from Sandeep Singh. He had to be carried on a stretcher. But withing 10 minutes the fighting Olympian Deepak was back on the field after receiving first aid.
As India continued to carry out raids New Zealand caved in. In the 22nd minute Rajpal’s penalty corner push was smartly converted by skipper Sandeep Singh to put India ahead 1-0. Two minutes later Shivinder Singh failed to tap home a pass from Deepak Thakur.
Skipper Phillip Burrows was a picture of confidence as he made several strikes down the flank. But lack of coordination by the new faces could not get them a goal.
Then in the 20th minute of the second half Shivendra trapped a pass from Tushar Khandekar. The New Zealand goalkeeper Kayle Pontifex rushed out and Shivendra tapped the ball home.The win has given India the confidence to take Holland in the next match tomorrow.
HOLLAND SCORE AN IDENTICAL 2-0 WIN
The only good feature of the first half of the Holland-Germany encounter was a display of passing and dribbling. Towards the closing of the first half Holland missed a chance when the ball hit the goalpost. But before they could convert it into a goal, the goalkeeper denied them that opportunity.
Finally Holland struck when Lucas Judge connected a rising delivery to make it 1-0, 12 minutes after the break. Holland continued to dominate the proceedings and with just seven minutes to go for thehooter Hertzberger converted a penalty corner to make it 2-0 at the close.
Lucas Judge was adjudged the man of the match.
Earlier, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal inaugurated the tounament.
Tomorrow’s fixtures: New Zealand vs Germany 4.30 to 6.30 p.m.; India vs Holland 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.