In the last league match of Pool B played today at Seonhak Hockey Stadium in Incheon, South Korea, the Indian Men Hockey team defeated China 2-0 to set up semi final match against the hosts. In the other semi-final of 17th Asian Games 2014 Malaysia will face the defending champions Pakistan.
The Indian team displayed an exceptional level of game and edged out China, storming into the semi-finals thus keeping the hopes of a Gold medal for India alive, while Malaysia defeated Japan 4-1 to ensure their place in medal round.
In the game between India and China, the entire first & second quarters of the game remained goalless as the score stood at 0-0 at half time.
It was only in the 3rd quarter of the game that India was awarded a penalty corner in the 40th minute. Indian defender V R Raghunath took the strike and without leaving any room for mistakes, perfectly converted the penalty corner into the maiden goal of the game giving India a required lead of 1-0.
Soon after V R Raghunath’s penalty, India scored its second goal of the match in the 45th minute which came from the stick of defender Birendra Lakra, taking the score for India to 2-0. The goal of Birendra Lakra is really good example of off the ball running, giving pass and taking another position to receive showing compassion of keeping the ball alive in the game.
The unsung hero and ever committed player of the Indian team, Birendra started the move himself in Indian half, when he stopped the ball at sideline while he was tackled three chinese players. Then he offloaded ball to Akashdeep in the centre, who release the ball again to Birendra reaching the Chinese D. After receiving the ball, keeping his calm Birendra, made the Chinese goalkeeper go down on the ground and flicked the ball in the net.
Thanks to evergreen rock-solid Indian Goalkeeper PR Sreejesh who foiled multiples attacks by the Chinese attackers to keep the clean sheet and win the game, as no goals were scored in the 4th quarter of the game. When the final whistle blew, the scoreboard showed a score of 2-0 indicating a win for the Indian Men and confirmed their entry into semi-finals.