Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Riding on drag flicker Harmanpreet Singh’s hat trick, India downed Wales 4-1 to move into the semi finals of the Men’s hockey tournament at the Brimingham Commonwealth Games on Thursday.
In- form Harmanpreet scored in 18′, 19′, 41 minutes while Gurjant Singh (49′) also added in a goal as the men in blue chalked out a comprehensive win against gritty Wales Gareth Furlong (55′) scored a consolation goal for the losers.
India finished the pool league assignment with three wins and a draw
Manpreet Singh led Iside got off to a cautious start, maintaining possession in the midfield as Wales pressed deeper inside their half. Forward Mandeep Singh managed to break through the shackles and enter inside the striking circle, but Wales were able to clear away the danger.
Wales forward James Carson took a shot on target but goalkeeper PR Sreejesh made a stunning save. Mandeep Singh created an opportunity in the final few seconds of the first quarter, but the rival defence prevented a shot on target..
Mandeep Singh made a dangerous run from the left flanks in the starting minutes of the second quarter, and the Welsh defence came under pressure.. Harmanpreet put India in lead as he scored converted a Penalty Corner (1-0) and a minute later he made it 2-0 by converting another penalty corner.
At the stroke of halftime, Wales pushed forward in number as James Carson broke through Indian defence. He passed the ball to Rupert Shipperley, who hit it wide, .
The second half started with Abhishek earning a free hit in a dangerous area, which earned them another Penalty Corner. But this time , Harmanpreet ‘s powerful drag flick was saved by Rupert Shipperley.
A great move was set up by Jarmanpreet Singh and Akashdeep Singh. But the final pass to Gurjant Singh in front of the goal just went wide, much to the relief of Welsh defence. Few minutes later Harmanpreet Singh completed his hat-trick as he successfully converted a penalty stroke (3-0), taking his total goals tally in the tournament to 9.
In the final quarter Nilakanta Sharma made a beautiful pass inside the striking circle to Akashdeep Singh, but his shot on target was deflected away by the goalpost. Minutes later, Gurjant Singh struck a ball into the nets to make it 4-0 .
Wales launched a furious counter attack which earned a penalty corner but Goalkeeper Krishan Pathak made a tremendous save as Gareth Furlong took a shot on target . But minutes later, Gareth Furlong converted after India conceded another Penalty Corner, scoring a consolation goal for Wales.(4-1 )