The Indian hockey team he lost to New Zealand on penalties in his crossover match FIH 2023 Men’s Hockey World Championship at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.
The game ended in a 3-3 draw after regulation time Lalit Kumar Upadhyay (17′), Sukhjeet Singh (24′) and Varun Kumar (40′) scored for India while Sam Lane (28′), Russell Kane (43′), Findlay Sean (49′) scored for New Zealand.
In a dramatic 18 penalty shootout, India lost 4-5. The defeat ended India’s hopes of a podium finish in the men’s hockey World Cup for the first time since 1975 when India won the competition. The Indian hockey team reached the quarter-finals of the last edition held in 2018.
With the quarter-finals on the line, both teams started the match with high intensity. Just over 10 minutes later, the Black Sticks were close to taking the lead, and it took Sreejesh’s powerful PR to stop Simon Child’s attack from the left.
However, India were arguably the better team in a goalless first quarter and created most of the chances.
In the second quarter, the pace of the game increased significantly, with both teams missing scoring opportunities in the first few minutes. Kim Kingstone threw his lines at close range and immediately at the other end Akashdeep Singh was shut down by Kiwi keeper Dominic Dixon.
However, Akshdeep became the supplier shortly after India finally broke the deadlock after Lalit Kumar Upadhyay’s searing shot hit New Zealand’s goal.
Nilakanta Sharma appeared to give India a 2-0 lead a few minutes later after a scuffle from the goal after a penalty for India. Celebrations were cut short as the goal was chalked out for a foul during the build-up.
On the second goal Harmanpreet Singh and Co. however, they did not have to wait long. India’s captain himself was instrumental in the set-up as his powerful penalty corner was nearly thrown away by Dixon only to be hit by Sukhjeet Singh like a tennis shot.
New Zealand recovered to lead 2-1 with Sam Lane’s goal two minutes before the half-time whistle.
India regained a two-goal lead in the third quarter after Varun Kumar converted a penalty corner to score his 29th career goal for India. However, the Black Sticks reduced India’s lead back to one.
With everything to play in the final quarter, New Zealand finally caught up with Findlay Sean who took a penalty corner from close range. The equalizer livened up the match as both teams threw everything at each other in search of a late winner.
New Zealand could have hit India with a strong shot just towards the end, but India’s goalkeeper Krishan Bahadur Pathak ensured the match went to extra time by sending off Sam Lane just before the end of regular time.
In a dramatic penalty shoot-out, India seemed to be heading towards the exit after a 3-2 loss, but PR Sreejesh denied Kiwi three times in a row to turn the tables. The experienced goalkeeper, however, suffered an injury during his last save and had to make way for Krishan Pathak, who had more shots.
India missed several game-ending chances during sudden death and paid the price by losing the 18-shot shootout 5-4.
The result sees New Zealand face reigning champions Belgium in the quarter-finals, while India face Rourkela to face Japan in a classification match.
India vs New Zealand, FIH Hockey World Cup 2023 score and result
Result: India 3(4)-3(5) New Zealand (Penalties)
Goal scorers: India – Lalit Kumar Upadhyay 17′, Sukhjeet Singh 24′, Varun Kumar 40′; New Zealand – Sam Lane 28′, Russell Kane 43′, Findlay Sean 49′
Venue: Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar
Man of the Match: Sean Findlay
Qualified for the quarter-finals: New Zealand