FIH Pro League: India defeat Ireland 4-0 to remain unbeaten in Rourkela leg, move up to 3rd spot in standings

India defeat Ireland 4-0 to remain unbeaten in Rourkela leg, move up to 3rd spot in standings in the FIH Pro League at the Birsa Munda Stadium in Rourkela on Sunday. Photo credit: Hockey India./IANS

Rourkela, Feb 25 (IANS) The Indian men’s hockey team defeated Ireland 4-0 to finish the Rourkela leg of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24 on a high at the Birsa Munda Stadium. Nilakanta Sharma (14’), Akashdeep Singh (15’), Gurjant Singh (38’) and Jugraj Singh (60’) scored a goal each as the Indian men’s hockey team moved up to third position in the points standings.

Ireland earned a penalty corner midway through the first quarter, followed by another opportunity. However, the Indian goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh and the defense successfully thwarted their efforts. With approximately two minutes remaining in the first quarter, India earned a penalty corner, and Nilakanta Sharma (14’) capitalised on the opportunity, scoring a goal from a rebound. Before Ireland could recover from the first goal, the Indian men’s hockey team swiftly added another through Akashdeep Singh (15’), concluding the quarter with a 2-0 lead.

At the start of the second quarter, Ireland seemed to have command over the game and earned an early penalty corner. However, the solid Indian defense once again prevented them from scoring. Despite Ireland maintaining ball possession for the majority of the second quarter, they couldn’t penetrate the Indian defense to narrow the lead. The score remained 2-0 in favour of India at halftime.

In the 41st minute, Ireland earned their fourth penalty corner, but once more, Amit Rohidas thwarted their attempts to score. Mandeep Singh orchestrated a chance for Gurjant Singh (38’) to increase India’s lead to three goals with a superb reverse-hit cross. Gurjant Singh delivered, sliding in to redirect the ball into the net. The quarter concluded with India leading 3-0. Despite a slight decrease in intensity from both teams in the last quarter, the precision of passing was maintained. The Indian Team retained possession for the majority of the quarter, securing their lead.

Even with Ireland earning a fifth penalty corner, Sreejesh showcased exceptional skills, preventing any change in the score. In the final minute of the game, Jugraj Singh (60’) successfully converted a penalty corner, concluding the Rourkela leg with India triumphing over Ireland 4-0.

India will play their next game against Argentina in Antwerp, Belgium in the next leg of the tournament on May 22.

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