Johor Bahru, Malaysia, 19 October 2014: Junior India stole the show with last minute goal to defeat Great Britain and retained their Sultan of Johor Cup title after a fitting finale played at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
An exciting final, filled with pace and excitement saw the Indian Junior Men Hockey team edging past Great Britain with the final score of 2-1, in which Top Scorer and Player of the Tournament Harmanpreet Singh scored twice including a last minute goal, while Samuel French scored the equalizer for Great Britain in 56th minute. Indian captain Harjeet Singh was adjudged as Most Promising Player of the Tournament.
Earlier in the day, Australia defeated New Zealand 6-2 to win bronze medal, while hosts Malaysia overcame Pakistan 3-1 to avoid last place.
The first half of the game saw a tight clash between the two teams and some extra ordinary efforts by the Indian players and the Indian goalkeeper Abhinav Pandey combined, in saving some crucial goal attempts coming in from Great Britain. Where both the teams successfully penetrated each other’s Ds, none of the two teams could manage to break through the defence wall and open the goal account as the scoreboard saw 0-0 till the end of the first half.
Taking the excitement a notch up in the second half of the game, both the teams went all out to strike the first goal of the match. It was only in the 46th minute of the game when India earned its first penalty corner and a flawless conversion by Harmanpreet Singh helped India open the goal account and taking the lead by 1-0 in the game. In the 56th minute of the game, Great Britain secured their first penalty corner and Samuel French converted it to level the scores at 1-1.
It was India’s dragflicker Harmanpreet Singh who stole the show away by making no mistakes in converting yet another penalty corner with only 45 seconds remaining in the match itself and sealed the game at 2-1 for India making them the undisputed champions in the 4th Sultan of Johor Cup.
Congratulating the team on their win, Hockey India President Dr. Narinder Batra said, “Similar to the Indian Men National Team at the 17th Asian Games, the Indian Junior Men Hockey Team too has brought us pride by winning the Sultan of Johor Cup for the second time and given us yet another reason to celebrate the laurels they have brought home today. I would like to congratulate all the players and Coach Mr. Harendra Singh along with all the members of the support staff on this proud moment and wish them all the luck for their future endeavours.”
Speaking on winning the title of the 4th Sultan of Johor Cup, the Indian Junior Men Hockey Team’s Coach Harendra Singh said, “I feel elated with pride and joy to see this young brigade retaining the title today. It was anyone’s game after the scores tied in the 56th minute. This team has shown immense potential to emerge as the one of the best teams in the world with the kind of class and dignity they have played with today. Our aim was to concentrate on the interception and keeping the possession of the ball as well as keeping a composed attitude in the game, as soon as the second half started. I am proud to see that the team worked on the exact framework and preserved the title.”