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INDIAN MEN'S SECURE FINAL BERTH IN CWG HOCKEY WITH A 3-2 WIN OVER SA

August 07, 2022 09:34 AM

BIRMINGHAM: The morning session saw a couple of the men’s placings sorted in the Commonwealth Games Hockey competitions. The day began with Scotland securing ninth place with a big win over Ghana, this was followed by Pakistan edging a high-scoring match against Canada to confirm 7th. The evening session saw the men’s semi-finals contested, starting with India earning a place in the final with a hard-fought win over South Africa. Over in the other semi-final Australia came back from 2-0 down to beat England, reports FIH.

India 3 South Africa 2 (Semi-final men)

India secured their place in the gold medal match after a hard-fought battle with South Africa.

The first semi-final began with a topsy-turvy period as both sides came out raring to book a place in the gold medal match. There was a plethora of chances for both sides from a series of penalty corners, and during open play. As would soon become a theme of the match Gowan Jones in the South African net produced a catalogue of saves. India’s defensive unit stood firm as well and an entertaining first 15 somehow ended goalless.

South Africa started the second quarter well, crafting a series of chances from penalty corners, with Matthew Guise-Brown denied on multiple occasions. Unnerved by the one-way traffic India took went up the other end and broke the deadlock, Abhisheck with the strike in the 20th minute. A period of Indian pressure followed, and Jones was again called into action, producing more saves to add to his tally for the day. 2 minutes from the end of the period Jones was finally beaten again as Mandeep Singh doubled the Indian lead. This left South Africa with plenty to muse over at the half-time interval.

Knowing they needed to find an extra gear in the third quarter South Africa put their foot on the gas, producing a wave of attacks. A series of penalty corners was eventually capitalised upon for the Africans when Ryan Julius struck in the 33rd minute. An encouraging quarter for South Africa continued as they continued to pepper the Indian goal. However, they were met by a dogged defensive and an impressive Krishan Bahadur Pathak in the Asian’s goal.

The game entered its final chapter with the final place anything but secure. Both sides looked to get themselves on the front foot but it was India that found the first telling touch of the 15. After South Africa removed their keeper Jugraj Singh extended the Indian lead to 3-1 with just 2 minutes left on the clock from a penalty corner. South Africa did not give up and were rewarded for their perseverance via a Mustapha Cassiem goal just a minute later. However, they could not find what would have been an extremely late leveller and it would be India who progressed to Monday’s final. South Africa will be in the bronze medal match on the same day.

Manpreet Singh (IND): “In the 2018 Commonwealth Games we lost the semi-final and we learned good things.

“That’s what we apply in this Commonwealth Games. We should not underestimate any team. Any team will come with their best and we should give our best every single match, so that’s what we did.”

Tim Drummond (RSA): “We started a bit slow and that’s going to put us back at the beginning. We slowly worked our way into the game and they put us under a lot of pressure, and we knew they would do that.

“I’m hugely proud of the guys to fight back like that, and we took the keeper off and tried to give it a crack. To put it into perspective, this is a team we lost 10-2 to in February.”

“It’s important that we recover from this, that we learn from it.

“We’ve got a game on Monday and we’re going to prepare for that now because there is a chance of a medal and we’ve never done that before.

“We’re not playing for ourselves, or this environment; we’re playing for something bigger back home, so we’ve got a lot to play for.”

“We’re a group that’s extremely hungry at the moment and hungry for success. So a medal for us is something we desperately want to achieve.”

Scotland 7 Ghana 2 (Classification 9-10 men)

Scotland ended their Commonwealth Games campaign with a convincing win over tournament debutants Ghana.

The Scots made a fast start to the game, Rob Harwood’s effort going just wide before a Jamie Golden shot was saved by Duisberg Offei in the Ghanaian goal. 7 minutes in Scotland did find the breakthrough, Struan Walker reacting to a shot saved from Cammy Golden. Ghana did have a chance to equalise from a penalty corner but the Scots held firm and the score stayed at 1-0 after the first 15.

It was another attacking start from the Scots in the second period, and they doubled their advantage after 19 minutes, Rob Field turning on the style before playing a pass to Cammy Golden who slid the ball past Offei. Ghana kept their heads up and began to play themselves back into the tie, a fast break from the Africans required a top save from Scots keeper David Forrester. The keeper had to think fast again when making a tackle to deny another Ghana chance. Despite the pressure the Scots held onto their 2-0 lead heading into half-time.

Ghana did manage to grab a goal early into the third quarter, as Emmanuel Ankomah fired home. Scotland used this wake-up call and after 36 minutes extended their lead to 3-1 via a top corner drag flick from Jamie Golden from a penalty corner. Ghana were temporarily reduced to 9 men after a couple of cards but the Scots couldn’t capitalise as the players took their final break.

Playing in their final quarter of this year’s games Scotland flew out of the blocks in the final 15, Harwood deflecting a Walker pass home to make it 4-1. Just a minute later it was 5 for the Scots when Callum Duke fired into the corner. A rampant Scotland got their 6th of the game after Jamie Golden grabbed his second, and it was soon 7 when Lee Morton got on the scoresheet. Ghana kept on going and were duly rewarded when Francis Tettey slid in and scored from an Ankomah shot for the final score of the game which left the scoreboard at 7-2.

Pakistan 4 Canada 3 (Classification 7-8 men)

Pakistan edged an entertaining match to secure 7th place in the Commonwealth Games.

A tight first 15 between two competitive sides yielded little in the way of clear-cut opportunities. Canada will probably feel as though they had the better of it, forcing a few penalty corners and seeing Brendan Guraliuk denied by Pakistan keeper Akmal Hussain.

The second quarter burst into life when Abdul Rana and Ghazanfar Ali scored in quick succession as Pakistan raced to a 2-0 lead. After being rocked by the manic few minutes that had just gone by Canada began to counter-punch, winning a series of penalty corners. The pressure eventually told as Matthew Sarmento halved the deficit in the 26th minute, and 4 minutes later Keegan Pereira restored parity on the stroke of half-time.

After a breathless second quarter the teams appeared to take stock in the third quarter, and a cagey period ensued. Green cards were shown to both sides during the 15 but neither team could capitalise on the extra man and the score remained 2-2.

As the game entered its final quarter both sides were keen to stamp their authority. Pakistan edged ahead in the 52nd minute, Umar Bhutta with the strike. Following a series of chances and penalty corners a frantic final 2 minutes was set up when Sarmento grabbed his second of the game to make it 3-3. Abdul Shahid would prove to be the hero for Pakistan, scoring in the final minute to secure 7th place.

Australia 3 England 2 (Semi-final men)

Australia will contest for their 7th Commonwealth Games gold medal after barnstorming semi-final with hosts England.

England, buoyed by a vocal home support, got off to a great start, attacking the formidable Australian defence and earning a series of penalty corners. They were however reminded of just how good their opposition were when keeper Oliver Payne was forced into making a great save to deny Blake Govers. To the delight of many in the crowd Phillip Roper fired England ahead in the 12th minute, through the legs of Aussie keeper Andrew Charter. A well-earned lead was taken into the first break.

After a period of yet more English pressure, and penalty corners, a penalty stroke was awarded to the hosts, and captain Zachary Wallace made no mistake, doubling his sides advantage after 19 minutes. Going 2 behind, and the prospect of losing their first match in the Commonwealth Games since 1998 seemed to jump-start the Kookaburra’s, who halved the deficit with 3 minutes left in the first half. Govers with the goal from a penalty corner.

The third quarter became a little scrappy, and England were shown a couple of cards, most notably a 10 minute yellow card for William Calnan inside the first minute – meaning the hosts would be down to 10 for the vast majority of the quarter. Australia capitalised on the extra legs, stretching England. The pressure told and on the stroke of the end of the period Jacob Anderson found the leveller for the Kookaburras, setting up a thrilling final quarter with the score at 2-2.

The final quarter began with Daniel Beale firing in for Australia to give them the lead. England got straight back to their work, creating chance after chance and forcing a number of penalty corners. Agonisingly for the hosts, who resorted to subbing off keeper Payne in exchange for an extra outfield player, they were unable to get past an inspired Australia defence and the Kookaburras kept up their 100% Commonwealth Games final appearance rate.

Australia will take on India in Sunday’s final while England will have to pick themselves up in time to face South Africa for bronze.

Day 10 preview:

Sunday gets underway with the women’s bronze medal match between beaten semi-finalists New Zealand and India at 9:00. At 11:15 5th and 6th place in the women’s competition will be decided as Canada and Scotland go head-to-head. At 15:00 it’s the big one, as hosts England look to strike gold against Australia. At 18:00 New Zealand and Wales’s men clash in the 5th/6th classification match.

 
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