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Samuel Ward: HWL Final 2017: Ward strikes twice as England beat India 3-2 | Hockey News

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BHUBANESWAR: Samuel Ward struck twice as England beat India 3-2 to record their first win of the Hockey World League Final on Saturday.

England had a lacklustre game against Germany in their HWL opener on Friday evening, losing 0-2 whereas India, despite being wasteful, held Australia to a 1-1 draw. India continued to be wasteful but England improved. They took the lead thanks to an enterprising goal from David Goodfield in the 25th minute. From an acute angle, he shot towards the far corner and with some luck, the ball deflected off goalkeeper Suraj Karkera and went inside the cage.


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A mistake from India captain Harmanpreet Singh in the 43rd minute cost India dearly as England doubled their lead. He failed to control an aerial shot as the ball approached him bouncing inside the D. England had Ward wandering inside the danger zone and he pushed the ball past Akash Chikte.


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Australia allowed India several chances to score on Friday but they couldn’t as the forwards and the drag-flickers failed to apply the finishing touches. Against England those opportunities were fewer for the majority of the game. They won back-to-back penalty corners but converted neither. After 45 minutes they were lagging behind by two goals and with time running out, they not only needed to create chances but to convert them too.

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Another opportunity came, in the form of penalty corner. The story was repeated as Rupinder Pal Singh’s bad run continued with the England goalkeeper blocking his flick, again. But as the goalie fell in his effort, Akashdeep Singh was waiting inside the D and on the rebound, lifted the ball over him, scoring the equaliser and bringing the packed stadium alive.

With that goal, the mood changed – on and off the field. And then it also changed Rupinder’s luck. Kothajit won India their fourth penalty corner, Rupinder missed. They won another. And this time, Rupinder’s dragflick soared past the rushers and the custodian, crashing inside the cage. In the 50th minute, India had equalised – scoring twice in three minutes.

Six minutes after that, Ward crashed through the Indian defenders to sneak in his second goal and England then held on to their 3-2 lead despite India playing without a goalkeeper in the final moments in a desperate search for an equaliser.

Updated: December 2, 2017 — 9:07 pm

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