Hockey: India beat England 3-2

India have registered their first win of the Champions Challenge hockey tournament by beating England 3-2 in Belgium on Sunday evening.

updated: June 27, 2007 12:55 IST
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Boom, Belgium:

India have registered their first win of the Champions Challenge hockey tournament, beating England 3-2 in Belgium on Sunday.

India did well to hold off a determined England for a win that keeps them in contention for a place in the final. That after Belgium's surprise 3-2 win over Argentina threw the tournament open.

Coach Joaquim Carvalho in fact said later that he was happy with the way India had bounced back after their loss to New Zealand on Saturday, in the team's tournament opener.

A must win match for India and they started aggressively, moving the ball around and putting pressure on the English defence. In fact, India had forced two penalty corners by the sixth minute of the match but failed to convert them.

India managed getting into the English circle a few more times, but the final touch was missing till the 28th minute when their persistence paid off.

Rajpal Singh, alone in the middle of the circle, hammered the ball in off a Dilip Tirkey free hit to give his team the lead.

Penalty corners

However, that lead was wiped out just five minutes later with England forcing two quick penalty corners and converting the second through Richard Mantell.

India began the second half strongly but still couldn't find their way past England's defence and it was left to Dilip Tirkey to take charge.

The former captain smashed the ball into the goal off the team's third penalty corner of the match to take India into the lead once again in the 38th minute, much to their dismay a determined England equalised again 11 minutes later.

But it was only a matter of a few more minutes before Prabhjot Singh flicked home a deflection to make it 3-2. And that only made the level of play a little more desperate with India keen to avoid losing the lead and the match in the last few minutes and England keen to avoid their second loss in as many matches.

However, those waves of attack on the Indian goal didn't amount to much and England may have ended the day surprised by the level of their opponents' game. India next play Belgium on Tuesday.