Terrible weather at Ipoh added to the gloom for Paul van Ass and his men as they went down fighting to New Zealand 2-1. Having drawn their first game, it was clear that the Black Caps would certainly have their hands full.
Akashdeep Singh equalized for the Indians shortly after the amazing Simon Child had put the Kiwis ahead, only for Andy Hayward to slam home the winner within the final ten minutes.
Azlan Shah Cup: India dominate rain hampered first quarter
Sardar Singh and co began the first quarter as they did against Korea. With New Zealand too boasting of a stong attacking unit, the game became stretched within the first five minutes. Consequently, Hugo Inglis found himself goal side, only for his shot to go marginally wide off Sreejesh’s goal.
In a rather unique turn of events, play was called off with barely nine minutes played. A thunder storm and heavy rain forced the players and referees to make their way down the tunnel and into the dressing room.
In spite of the 25 minute break, the match continued according to the script. Both sides exhibited incredible attacking intent as the game became stretched.
The first penalty corner of the match went to New Zealand with three minutes left to play in the first half. Nick Craig’s unimpressive attempt however, was agonisingly wide. The first half concluded with the scores tied at 0-0.
Third Quarter: Simon Child puts Kiwi’s ahead; Akashdeep equalizes soon after
Both teams took the field in what was expected to be a thrilling second half. Four minutes into the second half, the Kiwis took a much deserved lead. A wonderful move down the flanks from Hugo Inglis saw Simon Child get on the end of the pass.
Simon Child’s opener however was to be short lived. Backed by their Indian support at Ipoh, the intensity of Sardar Singh’s men gradually increased. As a result, the Indians found a prime opportunity to equalize. A wonderful variation from the Indians saw Akashdeep Singh tuck in the goal that brought the men in blue back on level terms. Therefore, once again, the result for India was going to be determined by the events of the fourth quarter.
4th Quarter: Andy Hayward scores to give New Zealand the win
The opening few minutes of the fourth quarter saw the likes of SK Uthappa and Khotajit Singh attack with firm relentlessness. Sure enough, it was goalscorer Akashdeep who won a crucial penalty corner for his side. Having failed to convert, the Indians would soon realize the importance of grabbing opportunities.
With barely five minutes left on the clock, Andy Hayward found his name on the score sheet. A wonderfully worked penalty corner from the Kiwis ensured that they had the slender one goal advantage.
The match finally concluded with the Kiwis winning the gruelling encounter 2-1.
In spite of a draw and a loss in the round robin, Paul van Ass will be hoping to turn the fortunes of his side as they face Malaysia in the Azlan Shah Cup tomorrow.