India’s men’s ice hockey team shows old weaknesses as they falter at the Commonwealth Games with a 4-1 lead to a 4-4 draw with hosts England » FirstSportz

Indian men's hockey team
Indian men’s hockey team tied 4-4 with England

The Indian men’s ice hockey team ensured that viewers of the game at the stadium in Birmingham and on television sets at home in India struggled with high blood pressure. After four quarters in which India started with superb ice hockey and then looked stale, they were lucky enough to walk away with a 4-4 draw at the Commonwealth Games.

It was almost like watching a soap opera in prime time on Monday night. If the first half was like a tasty soup on the dinner menu where India looked solid, the last two quarters were like stale food on your plate. One had to consume it due to hunger and the unnecessary yellow cards awarded showed the weaknesses of the Indian side led by an annoyance Manpreet Singh.

It would be no secret if coach Graham Reid had tongue-poked his boys in the dressing room after the game. Given India’s size and as Tokyo Olympics bronze medalists, they were tense, error-prone and faced a barrage of attacks from England in the final 25 minutes. Had it not been for England’s pathetic conversion to the penalty corner, they would have walked away victorious in front of home fans. The match certainly captivated the fans.

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How the game evolved for the Indian men’s hockey team

Indian men's hockey team
Indian men’s hockey team

To score eight goals in a game without taking penalties was high energy. Just that the energy for India was more nervous in the final stages. It was like watching a sick patient’s oxygen level drop and being forced by the doctor to intubate him. A comparison to an ICU situation is acceptable as the way England attacked when India were down to nine men was frightening.

defense and goalie PR Sreejesh endured. Those jittery moments just weren’t needed by the Indian side, who were in overdrive for many reasons. Having won the first two league games in their group, beating England was imperative. That they were stunned most of the time was a sign that they were cracking under pressure, indulging in rough play and being censured by the field umpires.

India got off to a flying start and scored after just three minutes thanks to a Lalit Kumar Upadhyay Goal from a penalty corner. Mandeep Singh then doubled the Indian lead with two minutes remaining in the opening quarter. Mandeep grabbed his second and India’s third in the third quarter where England hit the post through Christopher Griffiths. India went into the half-time break with three goals for good.

Facing a challenge similar to climbing the Himalayan peaks in inclement weather, England scored a crucial third-quarter goal through Liam Ansell. From poetry to prose, India started to slide as India suffered damage afterwards Varun Kumar was booked with a yellow card. Despite this setback, India scored their fourth goal Harmanpreet Singh.

England hit back right away when Nicholas Bandurak energized England India with one goal. An excellent one Philip Roper Effort brought England back with ten minutes to go. India combined time-wasting tactics and were lucky to force the draw. At one point it seemed doomed. A draw might seem better than a loss, but the goal for India is Group B. Finally, on the other side is clinical Australia. It’s a must to avoid her in the semifinals given her form and dexterity.

“The second half was just crazy. As soon as we got momentum and things started rolling, the energy was high, the crowd was behind us and we started to find that extra pass that wasn’t quite there in the first half.” said England player Nicholas Bandurak. “We really felt that a few more minutes would have done us good, but that’s sport, isn’t it?”

Perhaps Bandurak wasn’t able to explain the way they took the penalty corners and looked like novices. The attempts were not clear or clean and the lack of cohesion and firepower saw India walk away with a tie. An England win would have drawn heavy criticism from Indian ice hockey fans.

On Wednesday, India next plays Canada. Coach Reid’s message will be clear, play clean hockey and score as many goals as possible. For the record, the second Indian sent out after a yellow card was Gurjant Singh.

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Subhankar Mondal

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