Sultan of Johor Cup hockey: India lose final to Great Britain in penalty shootout

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Johor Bahru (Malaysia), Oct 18: The Indian junior men's hockey team ended runner-up in the Sultan of Johor Cup after losing nail-biting penalty shootout 3-4 to Great Britain, here today.

The teams were level 2-2 after full time in the title encounter. It was Great Britain that drew the first blood in the fifth minute through a penalty corner goal by Luke Taylor.

A file picture of Indian players at Sultan of Johor Cup

The Great Britain team who had earlier defeated India in the league matches seemed to be in control of their game until India were rewarded with a penalty corner in the 12th minute, which was beautifully converted into a goal by Harmanpreet Singh to draw parity.

The next 23 minutes in the first half saw a lot of attacks and counter attacks but neither of the teams could capitalise. The second half began with India pressing hard to take the lead and they were soon rewarded in the 42nd minute with Gurjant Singh pulling off an absolute stunner, giving India the much needed lead in the game.

Great Britain however struck soon after in the 46th minute through Jack Turner to settle the score at 2-2. The next 24 minutes saw numerous attempts to score from both the teams, but the efficient goal keepers and a strong defense line ensured the match entered the penalty shootout stage.

Great Britain finally edged past the Indian colts in the penalty shootout scoring 4 goals as opposed to India’s 3 goals, to be crowned as the new champions of the 5th Sultan of Johor Cup.

"It's hard to miss out on the title from somewhere as close as this, but it’s a game and this defeat today will only help us learn from our mistakes for the future. I am completely satisfied with the boys performance and I couldn’t have asked for more from them," said India coach Harendra Singh.

"Penalty shootouts are always unpredictable and it’s unfortunate that we could not finish it on a winning note. I would like to congratulate Great Britain on being crowned the new champions."

India had earlier finished at the top of the table in the league encounter just losing one match ironically to Great Britain. Sumit Kumar and Harmanpreet Singh with three goals each have been the top scorers for India in tournament.

PTI

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