Junior Hockey World Cup: India defeat South Africa to enter quarters




India beat South Africa 2-1 at the Dhyan Chand Astroturf Stadium in Lucknow to reach the Quarter Finals of the Junior Hockey World Cup. With this win, the men in blue have definitively topped Pool D and won all three of their matches.

Junior Hockey World Cup 2016 - Harjeet Singh celebrates

Junior Hockey World Cup 2016 – Harjeet Singh celebrates

The home side dominated possession from the start and took the lead in the 11th minute of the first half through captain Harjeet Singh. The hosts could have soon doubled the lead, but for some brilliant saving by the South African goalkeeper. However, it was Kyle Lion-Catchet who scored from the penalty corner in the 28th minute to bring SA level.

India continued to look the superior side in the second half but failed to capitalise on their chances. A crucial penalty corner was squandered before Mandeep Singh finally rose to the occasion in the 55th minute to give India the all-important second goal with an excellent reverse hit.

Ajit Pandey had some great chances to increase the margin of victory with a dangerous low cross one minute and a reverse hit the next. Mandeep Singh produced a brilliant solo effort to almost make it 3-1 but was thwarted by some good tackling by South African skipper Stewart.

India did find the net soon after with a strike from outside the D, but the goal was disallowed as no Indian player was able to get a touch on the ball.

Harendra Singh’s men were favourites going into the match with a 4-0 win over Canada and a 5-3 victory over England.

“We would like to top the group as it will allow us to take the second team of other group in quarterfinals,” captain Harjeet Singh said before the match. And so they did. India will be looking to go all the way and win their first junior world championship since 2001 Hobart. They will take on Spain who came second in Pool C for a spot in the Semi Finals. England are the second team to qualify from Pool D behind India.

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Second-year student at Delhi University and die-hard sports fan. Apart from screaming at my television screen, I enjoy reading, photography and rocking out to Queen.

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