MUSCAT, October 21: Indian Men’s hockey team Chief Coach Harendra Singh wants the strikers to sharpen up and take less time in making decisions. Complimenting his team for the spirit shown in posting a 3-1 victory after conceding lead in the first minute to Pakistan in the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018, Harendra says he is proud of the way the team staged a comeback on Saturday.
“I am proud of the manner in which the Indian team staged a comeback. They deserve full credit, but I remain concerned with our finishing,” said Harendra.
“We missed a few chances. We are taking too much time to make decisions. That’s where we need to sharpen up,” he said.
“Any team can score early, but what mattered is how our team came back from the early reversal,” said Harendra.
Captain Manpreet Singh, who was adjudged Hero Player of the Match, said the team needs to guard against giving away easy opportunities to the rivals. “Despite playing a good match, there are many things we need to do. We need to guard against conceding easy chances,” said Manpreet.
“I do not think we should have conceded that early goal,” he said.
Pakistan got a penalty corner in the 35th second of the match and capitalized on it to surge ahead. Aleem Bilal’s penalty corner shot was blocked by Indian goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh, but Muhammad Irfan Jr. picked up the rebound to shoot home.
India went all out to look for an equalizer, but Pakistan packed the defense to keep the strikers at bay until Manpreet scored a field goal to equalize in the 24th minute. Mandeep Singh (31st minute) and Dilpreet Singh (42nd minute) scored field goals to seal India’s victory in the six-nation competition’s showpiece fixture of the preliminary league.
Pakistan team’s manager Hasan Sardar said it was a mistake to fall too back in their own half and allow free space to the Indians.
“We fell back too much. Any team that is allowed to attack to that extent will get chances. We made it easy for India by withdrawing too much,” Sardar said.
“It was in the second half that we also came out and attacked,” he said. “In this game, we were good in parts and disorganized in some other parts. From the chances we created, we should have scored two goals.”
“We can play a lot better. We look forward to a more organized game in our next outing,” Sardar added.
India next plays Japan in their third round-robin match on 21 October 2018 at 21.10 hours local time.