- India qualified for the semifinals of the FIH Series Finals
- Skipper Manpreet Singh scored two goals to help India beat Poland 3-1
- Harmanpreet Singh was also on the scoresheet
India confirmed their place in the semifinals of the FIH World Series Finals by defeating Poland by 3-1 in a tense fixture. The victory was an arduous one, considering the team had to struggle hard against a defensive-minded Polish side. To put things in perspective, this is largely the same outfit that India had defeated 10-0 two months ago in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
Nonetheless, coach Graham Reid would be relieved to see his side enter semi-finals with a game to spare.
Poor Passing, Determined Defending
Inconsistent passes, aimless shooting and messed up defence was the theme of the Friday’s match.
The first warning bells were run just 30 seconds into the game, with Poland earning a penalty corner. However, much to India’s relief, they were unable to convert it.
Nonetheless, Poland was up for a determined defending show, almost parking the bus in its half. And naturally, the Indians found it difficult to break past the Polish defence even otherwise.
When the hosts finally broke through the defence line, they were greeted by the Polish keeper Maciej Pacanowski. Pacanowski staved off over half a dozen chances including two consecutive shots from Simranjeet Singh and Akashdeep Singh.
The situation was so that the Indians could only manage to convert just one of its five penalty corners. Ramandeep, who was playing a creative role, would feed the forwards only to see the ball rolling back. However, it was the captain Manpreet Singh who had to step up for the team’s cause.
The skipper elegantly lobbed in a rebound after Harmanpreet Singh’s attempt was blocked.
Having conceded the lead, Poland stepped up their attacking game. Mateusz Hulboj soon levelled the scores, tapping in the rising ball. Hardik Singh was the culprit this time while Krishan Pathak was completely left out of position and blinded.
The Indians, nonetheless, managed to somehow stick to the structure in the second half although the errors in passing persisted. However, Manpreet and Harmanpreet Singh scored one goal apiece to see India somehow stumble past the finish line.
Considering that their semi-final opponent would be either Japan or South Africa, India would have to step their game up soon.
Need we say more? ?
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) June 7, 2019
India 3 (Manpreet Singh 2, Harmanpreet Singh) bt Poland 1 (Mateusz Hulboj).
Russia 12 (Semen Matkovskiy 5, Alexander Skipersky 2, Sergey Lepeshkin, Alexey Sobolevskiy, Mikhail Proskuryakov, Marat Khairullin, Denis Starianko) bt Uzbekistan 1 (Khakimboy Khakimov);
Japan 3 (Hirotaka Zendana 2, Shota Yamada) bt Mexico 1 (Erik Hernandez).