FIH Series Finals in Odisha: India beat Poland, top pool

Bhubaneswar: India defeated Poland 3-1 in FIH Men’s Series Finals Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium here today and topped Pool-A with six points.

The Poles were the first to go on the offensive with a fine shot from Mateusz Hulboj following a penalty corner. Gradually, the pressure mounted on Poland’s goal but the European side was defending well and proceeding in counter-attacks. And so Poland ended the first quarter without having conceded a goal despite the pressure from the higher ranked Indian team.

In the second quarter, India were pushing hard to open the scoring. Following a penalty corner, Polish goalkeeper Maciej Pacanowski made another great save but India’s captain Manpreet Singh was well positioned in the circle. He pounced on the ball and did not let such an opportunity go away, slotting the ball home. India took the lead and the home crowd was delighted.

Nevertheless, after that, the hosts did not make the most of several opportunities they created and, as is often the case in such situations, that paved the way for their opponents to equalise, through the always dangerous Hulboj, who benefited from a mistake by the hosts’ defence.

India instantly went back on the attack. And, once again, the experienced team captain led the way, concluding a brilliant combination with Mandeep Singh with a fine shot to reestablish India’s lead.

The second half started on a similar pattern, with India pushing to increase their lead and Poland sparing no effort to defend properly and use every opportunity they could to get closer to India’s goal.

The home team managed to add another goal in the third quarter, with Harmanpreet Singh finding the target from another penalty-corner. Shortly later, Mandeep Singh had a huge chance to score but this brought a further great save from Poland’s goalkeeper.

With this result, India sits firmly at the top of Pool A and Poland will play a decisive game against Russia in two days.

India’s captain Manpreet Singh: ”I was happy when I scored that second goal because we were at 1-1. After that, I talked to my team and said that we needed to raise our level and that’s what we did. I’m so happy to get the Man of the match award but I think this is all due to my teammates because of their hard work as well.”

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