Image Courtesy: @TheHockeyIndia
Indian men's hockey team fumbled and lost 3-2 to Ireland in its last league match at the 27th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2018 in Malaysia on Friday. Ramandeep Singh (10') and Amit Rohidas (26') put India in the lead twice while Shane O'Donoghue (24'), Sean Murray (36') and Lee Cole (42') strikes handed Ireland the win.
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. Playing structured and disciplined hockey, India won a penalty corner 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 1-0 lead, India had to contain Ireland and ensure they stayed ahead. India denied Ireland their first penalty corner of the match with video referral that was ruled in India's favour.
However, they conceded an equalizer soon, following good teamwork between Kirk Shimmins, Sean Murray and O'Donoghue, who ended up scoring.
In the 26th minute though, Amit Rohidas helped India reclaim the lead with a splendid penalty corner, finding the top net with a fiercely-struck drag-flick.
A foot foul by Dipsan Tirkey saw India concede a penalty corner only 15 seconds prior to the half-time hooter but Suraj Karkera was on top of his job to save the effort.
India seemed to drop their game slightly in the third quarter with Ireland scoring two goals in the 36th and 42nd minute through Sean Murray and Lee Cole respectively. The Irish dominated the ball possession while their goalkeeper Jamie Carr came up with some brilliant saves to keep India under pressure.
Though India had more circle entries, they could not make much of it thanks to Carr's attentiveness at the goalpost.
Indian forwards started looking desperate to make forays into the striking circle. While the team's defence contained the Irish from taking a further lead, an infringement by Ireland helped India win another penalty corner, however, drag-flicker 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 for winning yet another penalty corner for India in the 56th minute, but Varun Kumar's drag was deflected by onrushing Irish players.
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.
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