Two late strikes help India beat England 4-3
Gold Coast: India completed a remarkable turnaround in the group stages to strike twice in the last 92 seconds and rally from a 2-3 deficit to beat England 4-3 at the Commonwealth Games. It also helped India top the Pool B and avoid a semi-final meeting with Pool A toppers, Australia, who have won every Commonwealth Games hockey gold since the sport was introduced in 1998 at Kuala Lumpur.
India will however spend a day worrying whether or not penalty corner specialist, Rupinder Singh, recovers from an injury he suffered late in the game. He went off the field and did not return.
After starting with competition with a 2-2 draw against Pakistan, India beat Wales 4-3 and Malaysia 2-1. With England also winning twice and drawing once, both teams were on seven points. England needed only a draw to top the pool on a better goal difference while India needed a win to avoid Australia in the semi-final.
India picked up the momentum in the closing stages and stunned England with late strikes to eke out a narrow win.
From the other pool, Australia had already secured the top spot in Group A but they also beat New Zealand 2-1 in their last league match.
This was India's second straight semi-final win against New Zealand. In 2014 India beat the Kiwis 3-2 to reach the final where they lost 0-4 to Australia. Prior to that in 2010 India beat England in the semi-finals but lost to Australia in the final.
In terms of the ball possession, the English had a better share at 58 to 42 percentage. But when it came to penetrations into the striking circle, India made 34, England only 14. England also had five penalty corners of which they converted two, while India had four and they converted one.
After a goalless first quarter, England took the lead in the second quarter through a reverse hit by David Condon in the 17th minute. But Manpreet Singh put India level in the third quarter in the 33rd minute. Rupinder converted a penalty corner for India in the 51st minute when his shot got deflected off an English defender's stick into the net. That gave India a 2-1 lead.
The rest of the goal scoring activity took place in the last eight minutes as England struck twice through penalty corners taken by Liam Ansell (52nd) and Sam Warn (56th) to go 3-2 up with four minutes to go.
Then in the closing stages, Varun Kumar and Mandeep Singh scored to carry India through the day.