Having grabbed the lead on two occasions (1-0 in the 10th minute and 2-1 in the 26th minute), Indian Men’s Hockey Team fumbled in the end as they lost 3-2 to Ireland in their last round-robin match here at the 27th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2018 here on Friday. Ramandeep Singh (10’) and Amit Rohidas (26’) scored for India while Shane O’Donoghue (24’), Sean Murray (36’) and Lee Cole (42’) scored the winner for Ireland.
After rekindling their hopes of making the final with a convincing 5-1 win against Malaysia in their previous match, India vied for another win on the trot and got on to a start that reflected this intent. Playing structured and disciplined hockey, India won a PC in the 10th minute. Varun Kumar was at the first battery but it was Ramandeep Singh who came up with a great finish to direct the flick into the net with a tap after he had injected the ball perfectly for the dragflicker. Soon after India won another PC when Sumit Kumar found Irish defender’s foot while forcing an assist from the baseline. But this time Varun Kumar’s flick was far wide.
With 1-0 lead, India had to contain Ireland and ensure they stayed ahead. India denied Ireland their first PC of a match with a decision for video referral that was ruled in India’s favour. But conceded an equaliser soon after through Shane O’Donoghue. The 24th minute field goal was good team work between Kirk Shimmins, Sean Murray and O’Donoghue. In the 26th minute though Amit Rohidas helped India reclaim the lead with a splendid PC, finding the top net with a fiercely-struck dragflick. A foot foul by Dipsan Tirkey saw India concede a PC only 15 seconds prior to the half-time hooter but Suraj Karkera was on top of his job to save the PC.
Falling behind by two goals to win, Indian forwards were desperate to make potential forays into the striking circle. While the team’s defence contained the Irish from taking further lead, an infringement by Ireland helped India win a PC. But dragflicker Amit Rohidas couldn’t make it count. With time ticking away, India pulled out their goalkeeper to add an extra man to their attack. Simranjeet Singh was responsible to win another PC for India in the 56th minute. But Varun Kumar’s drag was deflected by Irish rushers. Counting down to the final hooter, errors proved dear for the Indian team while Ireland successfully held on to their 3-2 lead to win.
India will next play in the 5th/6th place match on March 10.
Matches will be telecast live on Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD1 and Hotstar.
Please find attached team photos along with tournament schedule and poolstandings.