Amandeep Lakra achieved a remarkable hat-trick, guiding the Indian junior men’s hockey team one step closer to defending their title. On Monday, they impressively defeated New Zealand 6-2, securing their spot in the Sultan of Johor Cup semifinals in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Lakra (2nd, 7th, 35th), Arun Sahani (12th, 53rd), and Poovanna Chandura Boby (52nd) all contributed to India’s goal tally, while Luke Aldred (29th, 60th) netted twice for New Zealand.
India initiated the match with a strong performance, earning a penalty corner in the first minute. Lakra capitalized on this early opportunity, sending a powerful flick past New Zealand’s goalkeeper, Luke Elmes, to give India a confidence-boosting 1-0 lead within the opening two minutes.
India generated significant opportunities that could have resulted in two more goals in this quarter. In the 52nd minute, Poovanna netted India’s fifth goal via a penalty corner, and in the 53rd minute, Arun Sahani notched his second goal, extending India’s lead to 6-1. In the dying seconds of the game, an infraction by India’s defense provided New Zealand with one last chance at the goal, and Luke Aldred capitalized on it, skillfully flicking the ball past Mohith to score.
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