India’s hope of making it to the quarter finals met with sudden death as they went down 4-5 in the penalty shootout against New Zealand, after playing 3-3 in the regulation period, in the Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here tonight
India had no business losing the match as they led 3-1 till the 43rd minute. It will not be an exaggeration to say that the hosts snatched defeat from the jaws of victory .They put up a thoroughly tentative display and despite taking the lead never looked like a confident side. Despite massive crowd support and 3-1 lead the men in blue wilted under pressure and whatever plan they had it just weathered away
India earned 10 penalty corners but could convert only one while the Kiwis got only two penalty corners and converted both of them to make it 3-3.
And in the penalty shootout, both teams were again levelled 3-3 and in the sudden death Indian twice squandered winning chances and paid the price and left hundreds of their supporters virtually sobbing.
In the penalty shootout, Harmanpreet Singh, Raj Kumar Pal and Sukhjeet Singh converted while Abhishek and Shamsher Singh missed their chances. For Kiwis Nic Woods, Sean Findlay and Heyden Philips converted while Sam Lane and Sam Hiha muffed .
In the sudden death for India only Raj kumar Pal scored while Harmanpreet, Sukhjeet and Shamsher let the team down, for the Kiwis Sean Findlay and Sam Lane converted while Nic Woods and Hyden Philips failed.
India who led 2-1 at half the goal scorers were Lalit Upadhya, Sukhjit Singh and Varun Kumar (one each). For New Zealand Sam Lane,Kane Russell and Sean Findley scored.
India opened on a brisk note making some early forays into the rival; defence but could not breach it. The Kiwis countered with Sam Hiha and Sam Lane making dangerous moves but Indian defence held on and foiled the attacks.
The hosts backed by vociferous packed stadium attacked from the right with Shamsher Singh a good move but he was not able to cut through the crowded defence.
Mandeep Singh then tried a solo from the right and moved up from the left flank into the circle which earned India a penalty corner. Harmanpreet failed to convert it.
Akashdeep ran down from the middle and moved towards the right flank but his powerful drive was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Dominic Dixon.
Both the teams attacked each other’s citadel from the flanks with India having the upper hand with more ball possession. It was in the 17th minute that hosts took the lead when Akashdeep created a move and relayed the ball to Shamsher who in turn deflected it towards Lalit Updhayay and the striker from Uttar Pradesh made no mistake in slotting the ball home and the packed stadium erupted (1-O)
The hosts kept up the pressure which fetched them two penalty corners but Harmanpreet failed to convert it and then Lalit Upadhya missed a rebound opportunity.
Seven minutes later, India forced their fourth penalty corner and on the rebound Sukhjit Singh sent the ball into the goal (2-0) and the crowd in the stands went wild(2-0).
The Kiwis refused to buckle down and launched a counter offensive and in the 28th minute reduced the margin when Simone Child and Sam Lane moved up in tandem and this time Lane scored from near the backline (1-2) and hush silence fell in the stadium.
Indians then increased their lead in the 40th minute through Varun Kumar much to the delight of the crowd but the kiwis rallied strongly and forced two penalty corners and Kane Russell and Sean Findley converted them to draw the level and forced the match into the penalty shootout.
“This is end of the World Cup,” said Sujoy Mohapatra, a hockey fan. “To be frank Hockey world Cup died today for us” he added
Earlier, Malaysia also experienced sudden death as they went down to Spain 3-4 in penalty shootout after the teams were levelled 2-2 in the regulation period.
After playing a goalless first half, Spain and Malaysia exchanged leads in the second half but failed to break the deadlock resulting in the penalty shootout. Again the shootout was tied at 3-3, which led to sudden death and Spain prevailed in it.
In the penalty shootout, Firhan Ashari, Faizal Saari, Shahmie Irfan Suhainmi converted for Malaysia while Captain Marhan Jalil, and Shello Silverius missed their attempts.
For Spain Marc Miralles .Jordi Bonastre, Xavier Gispert were able to beat goalkeeper Hafizuddin Othman, while Alvaro Iglesias and Marc Reyne failed.
In the sudden death, Marc Miralles scored for Spain which turned out to be the winner as Firhan Ashari fumbled in ghis attempt and sent the ball over.
Spain dominated the first half in which it had some good chances and two penalty corners but goalkeeper Hafizuddin brought off some stunning saves to deny the European side any breakthrough.
In the second minute of the second half, Malaysia surprised Spain when Faizal Saari made superb solo efforts as he dribbled past a couple of defenders and swept the ball into the cage leaving goalkeeper Adrian Rafi clueless (1-0).
However the lead lasted barely an eighth minute as Spain forced their fourth penalty corner which led to a stroke and Marc Miralles made no mistake in converting it (1-1).
Two minutes later Spain took the lead through Xavier Gispert but in the 48th minute Malaysia drew parity through Shello Silverius who scored a stunner (2-2). In between Malaysia had one goal disallowed
Spain forced two penalty corners in the dying minutes of the regulation but failed to make use of them. As the deadlock remained, a penalty shootout was enforced to decide the winner for the quarter finals.