In what was a very closely-contested game, the Indian junior men’s hockey team lost 4-5 to South Africa in its second match at the 10th Sultan of Johor Cup here on Sunday.
Sharda Nand Tiwari (9′, 10′), captain Uttam Singh (17′) and Sudeep Chirmako (45′) scored for India while Marvin Simons (7′), Fawaaz Kahder (34′), Senzwesihle Ngubane (35′) and Cameron Le Forestier (49′, 57′) found the back of the net for South Africa.
Soon after the first pushback of the game, Amandeep Lakra set the tone for the high press from the get-go, keeping South Africa in their half in the first few minutes. However, it was South Africa in fact who took the lead with Marvin Simons (7′) deflecting in the past Ankit Malik. India though roared back into the game within minutes as Sharda Nand Tiwari (9′, 10′) converted two penalty corners. India ended the first quarter with a 2-1 lead and looked in control of proceedings.
A couple of minutes into the second quarter, India, who were looking for their dominant selves by now, struck again with captain Uttam Singh (17′) getting his first goal of the tournament. With the momentum behind them, India not only kept South Africa at bay but also controlled the proceedings, not allowing their opposition too much leeway, ending the first half with the score reading 3-1, Hockey India informed in a release on Sunday.
India had more domination and goals in their minds in the second half, but it was South Africa who found the back of the net. Fawaaz Kahder (34′) made it 3-2 for South Africa, before Senzwesihle Ngubane (35′) equalised, with both goals coming from penalty corners. Nonetheless, India got their noses back out in front before the third quarter ended with Sudeep Chirmako (45′) getting on the scoresheet.
In the final 15 minutes, India was looking to control proceedings, but the South African side equalised again as Cameron Le Forestier (49′) converted another penalty corner, making it 4-4. Soon after, South Africa went ahead for the second time in the game Cameron Le Forestier (57′) scored again, to pick up a win.
India will take on Japan in their third game on October 25.