Johor Bahru: The Indian junior men's hockey team lost to Great Britain 1-2 in the final of the 9th Sultan of Johor Cup here on Saturday.
Right from the hooter it was India forcing the pace, and put Great Britain on the back foot. They were forcing the attacks, creating more circle penetrations but their finishing was letting them down.
The first real opportunity fell to Maninder Singh, who dribbled past three Great Britain players to singlehandedly fashion a shooting chance, which flew just over the crossbar.
Soon enough though James Mazarelo was called into action in Great Britain's goal, first saving a sharp chance off Sudeep before parrying three consecutive penalty corners, to ensure his team went into the break level.
It has been an exceptional tournament for our Indian Jr. Men's Hockey Team! Give it up to the Runners-up of the 9th Sultan of Johor Cup - #TeamIndia! 👏🏼#IndiaKaGame #SultanOfJohorCup #SOJC pic.twitter.com/GMCMLLbm70
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) October 19, 2019
India upped the ante in the second quarter, and this time it was Oliver Payne in goal who was holding the score level. First he saved Dilpreet Singh's creative shot, before pulling off a reflex save from Gursahibjit's deflection from yards out.
The team went into half-time locked in a 0-0 stalemate.
The trend continued in the third quarter, India forcing the play and Great Britain forced inside their own half for long periods playing on the counter. India won their fifth PC of the game in the 36th minute, and once again Mazarelo was at hand to save Pratap Lakra's drag flick.
Minutes later India had a golden opportunity courtesy of Maninder, but Shilanand Lakra's deflection fell straight at Mazarelo to kick away. The scoreboard remained untouched at the end of the third quarter.
Much like in their round robin encounter, in the fourth quarter India's play gained an urgency. More and more Great Britain were being pushed back and in the 49th minute, India won another penalty corner, their seventh of the game. This time a variation proved to be key, Mandeep's dragflick smartly deflected by Gursahibjit Singh to give India lead.
Within a minute though Great Britain won their first penalty corner of the game. Despite the initial save on the line by Sanjay, the ricochet fell to Stuart Rushmere who slotted home first time to draw his team level.
Then, a ricochet fell to Rushmere, who slotted home to give Great Britain the win and the title.