India’s defence held its ground against desperate Great Britain as they clinched a 2-1 victory in the 36th Champions Trophy here today, putting them at the top of the league standings with four points.
Goalkeeper PR Sreejesh stood his ground against a number of shots at the goal, four of them on penalty corners, as India made use of a breakaway opportunity created by right winger SV Sunil and their defenders covered the angles well to emerge victorious.
Playing deep inside their own territory in the first quarter against early British raids, India scored through Mandeep Singh on their first raid by Sunil in the 17th minute.
Harmanpreet Singh then converted a penalty stoke in the 33rd minute, while Britain pulled one back through a penalty corner conversion by Ashley Jackson in the 35th minute.
Allowing Olympic champions Germany to come back to draw 3-3 yesterday, India now have four points from two matches.
Britain have just one point from a draw in their opening match. Earlier, Olympic champions Germany rallied from a two-goal deficit to secure a 4-4 draw with Belgium in the earlier game, which was disrupted by heavy showers that left the field water-logged.
Play was stopped for half an hour midway through the Germany-Belgium match, until the water on the turf was swept away.
Forcing two penalty corners in the initial three minutes, Great Britain were denied by goalkeeper Sreejesh as the Indian custodian blocked shots from Sam Ward and Jackson. Indians continued to stay in their own half crowd as Britain strikers repeatedly broke into the scoring zone, but were not able to take a good crack at the goal.
Ward did not succeed in his diving attempt to reach a Jackson cross from left in the 12th minute and David Condon's shot from top of the circle in the 15th minute went wide to the right.
India took the lead in the 17th minute on their first good move when right winger Sunil’s fine run on the flank saw him break into the circle. Sunil’s cross into the goalmouth scraped past a defender’s stick and went to Mandeep in the goalmouth. Mandeep capitalized on the chance by pushing it into the goal.
A few minutes later, Mandeep could have again featured in a goal-bearing move when he picked up a through ball deep in the British half. He was in a one-on-one situation with the only defender in front and could have burst forward, but instead misdirected a back-pass.