Sports

India down hosts New Zealand in Four-Nations hockey

Tauranga: A structured defence and clinical attack saw India beat hosts New Zealand 3-1 in the final round robin match of the double-leg Four Nations Invitational Hockey Tournament at Blake Park on Saturday.

India will play the final on Sunday against Belgium, who beat Japan 4-1.

It was India's young brigade Harmanpreet Singh (2), Dilpreet Singh (12) and Mandeep Singh (47) who scored after the team had suffered a 0-2 loss against Belgium in their previous match.

India's mantra on Saturday was to play aggressive and that's exactly what they did right from the start.

Their first breakthrough came as early as the second minute of the match when a circle entry fetched them a PC created by Mandeep Singh.

It was Harmanpreet Singh who stepped up for the drag flick and he was impeccable and fierce as he improvised the injection to flick the ball past New Zealand goal keeper Richard Joyce. The early goal undoubtedly put the Black Sticks on the backfoot.

The next few minutes saw India hold their defence with Rupinder Pal Singh, who was rested for the match against Belgium, leading the charge of defenders as their man-to-man marking was spot on, not allowing New Zealand to make easy forays into Indias circle.-PTI

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