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CWG: India's men's hockey team loses to New Zealand in semis

IANS  |  Gold Coast (Australia) 

The Indian men's team failed to recover from a poor start, losing to 2-3 in a semi-final of the 21st (CWG) here on Friday.

put up a disastrous defensive performance in the first quarter to concede two goals to (7th minute), (13th). But converted a in the 29th minute. trailed 1-2 at half-time.

regained New Zealand's two-goal lead in the 40th minute. kept chasing and reduced the deficit to one in the 57th minute through a penalty corner but it proved to be too late to find an equaliser.

India will now head to the bronze medal playoff against the loser between and England.

Coming into the semi-final, India lost the match in the first 15 minutes. It was a worst possible defensive performance to begin a semi-final.

The early focus seemed to be missing when the entire right flank lost its sense of positioning as Inglis intercepted defender to swiftly drive into the striking circle and employed a successful backhand shot past Indian

Then, Inglis made the most of a poor pass from Manpreet Singh near top of the defending circle before passing it on to Jared Panchia, who straight drove at But poor communication among the defenders left Jenness unmarked. Jenness only had to nudge it past Sreejesh to make it 2-0.

continued their good performance, earning their first penalty corner in the 22nd minute but Cory Bennett's drag-flick was well-saved by Sreejesh.

India's moment of reckoning came in the 29th minute when Sumit intercepted a defender to drive into the right flank. A deliberate foul by New Zealand skipper resulted in India winning their second penalty corner.

Though Varun Kumar's drag-flick didn't make the post, a deliberate obstruction saw India being awarded a which was converted by Harmanpreet.

India began the third quarter with a penalty corner in the 33rd minute, but again could not make much of it with Harmanpreet's drag-flick being saved by the first rusher.

The following minutes saw Chinglensana Singh and Gurjant Singh create opportunities to score but were off the mark.

New Zealand kept up their momentum, not letting go of scoring opportunities, when they won two back-to-back penalty corners in the 39th minute.

Though their No.1 drag-flicker Kane Russell's effort was blocked, Marcus picked up a good rebound to put it past Sreejesh, earning New Zealand a crucial 3-1 lead.

It didn't help India's cause when they missed two more opportunities to score through penalty corners in the 41st and 43rd minutes.

Under pressure to make their third consecutive final, India fumbled on opportunities to score.

Later, managed to convert a penalty corner with a powerful flick to the right top corner in the 57th minute.

Desperate for an equaliser, India pulled out their to add an

Forward got a yellow card in the 57th minute, making the situation worse for the Asian champions.

With time ticking away, the team could not pull off a finish similar to the one against England when they scored two goals in the final two minutes of the match, thus settling for a 2-3 loss.



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First Published: Fri, April 13 2018. 19:06 IST