Rejuvinated India downs Canada 3-1

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{image-indian hockey_11052008.jpg}Perak (Malaysia) May 11: Young dragflicker Diwakar Ram slammed a brace as a resurgent India downed Canada 3-1 to register their first victory in the 17th Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament here today.

Shivendra Singh was the other goal scorer for India. It was the Canadians who had the better start with Wayne Fernandes converting a penalty corner in the eighth minute to put them in the lead. Both teams were equally matched in the first half with the Indians, several of whom were inexperienced youngsters, struggled to find their rhythm. The Indian forwards wasted scoring chances galore with Shivendra and SV Sunil squandering a couple of gilt-edged opportunities in the 19th and 25th minutes respectively.

The Canadians came close to increasing their lead on several occasions but the Indian defence stood firm to deny them.

However, India suffered a setback in the 30th minute when Sandeep Singh, who took a blow on his knee while defending a penalty corner, was forced to go off the field.

The Indians picked themselves up in the second half as they went all out for the equalizer.

Their efforts bore fruit when they were awarded a penalty corner in the 44th minute. Diwakar Ram fired the ball to the right of the Canadian goalkeeper to level the scores.

The young defender soon grabbed his second goal when he powered home a penalty corner as India went 2-1 up (50th min).

India increased the margin just three minutes later. From the top of the circle, skipper Sardar Singh pushed a free hit into the area.

A diving Shivendra (53rd min ) managed to deflect the ball into the net.

The Indians launched a series of attacks in the closing minutes, running the Canadian defence ragged. Poor finishing, however, let them down as the opponents managed to prevent them from scoring further.

India, who have garnered three from three matches, will now face Belgium in their next encounter tomorrow.


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