London, June 11 (IANS) India hung on for dear life in the dying minutes to finish with a 2-1 victory over Great Britain at the Hockey Champions Trophy here on Saturday.
Mandeep Singh (17) and Harmanpreet Singh (34) scored one each from India, while Ashley Jackson (35) found the mark once for Great Britain.
India also have to thank their goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh who stood like a rock before the British attackers.
The match got delayed for about 20 minutes due to rain. But from the outset it was the hosts who were on the attack.
Sreejesh had to make two vital stops in a matter of a few minutes but then India slowly crawled their way back into the contest.
In the 17th minute, Mandeep got his opportunity to grab the lead for his side and he obliged by bending low and sticking it past the rival goalkeeper. The move was, however, created by S.V. Sunil who looked impressive throughout his time on the pitch.
The home side tried to equalise, egged on by the strong crowd but the Indian defenders were equal to the task. Just after half an hour, the visitors pressed forward in numbers again and Harmanpreet’s flick struck Barry Middleton on the body.
The latter warded off the danger but Indian coach Roelant Oltmans was alert and signalled captain V.R. Raghunath to go for a referral. And rightly so. India were awarded a penalty stroke. Harmanpreet had no problems stepping up to the spot and sticking it past the keeper.
Exactly five minutes after halftime, Jackson showed his skill off a penalty corner and placed the ball past Sreejesh to reduce the margin for Great Britain.
Thereafter, India staved off a number of threatening attacks from the hosts and held onto the slender lead till the final hooter to clinch their first victory of the competition.