Rupinderpal Singh scored two goals as India survived a scare before eking out a 4-4 draw against Ireland in a Pool B match in the FIH World League Round 3. Rupinderpal (40th,66th minute) converted two penalty corners in the second half to save India the blushes after Akashdeep Singh (21st) and Shivendra Singh (47th) scored two field goals.
For Ireland,Alan Sothern (25th),Paul Gleghorne (30th),Andrew McConnell (64th) scored three field goals while the other came from a penalty corner by Conor Harte in the 57th minute.
There was clear lack of co-ordination between the Indian mid-field and forwardline and they were also guilty of giving away the ball far more easily to their opponents. The Indians,however,surged ahead in the 21st minute when Akashdeep trapped a cross from Mandeep and slammed home a winner with a fierce hit from top of the circle. Indias joy,however,remained shortlived as Ireland drew parity four minutes later.
Ireland rubbed salt on Indias wounds in the 30th when Gleghorne scored to give his side a 2-1 lead. The Indian defence was yet again caught napping by Irelands fast attacking moves as an unmarked Gleghorne scored from close range.
The break worked wonders for India as Rupinderpal drew parity just five minutes into the second half converting their second penalty corner. Veteran striker Shivendra Singh,who made a comeback to the Indian team here after the London Olympics,then celebrated his birthday in style,beautifully deflecting home a diagonal pass from V R Raghunath in the 47th minute to give India a 3-2 lead.
But the Irishmen fought back strongly. First,Harte utilised one of their four penalty corners and then a diving McConnell tapped in to brighten the prospect of an upset win over India. But it was not to be as Rupinderpal came to Indias rescue two minutes later,converting Indias third penalty corner with a high flick to the left of Irish custodian Harte.
Women thrashed by Kiwis
India womens hockey team made a horrific start to their campaign as they were mauled 0-7 by higher-ranked New Zealand in the opening match of Pool B.
Ranked third in the world,New Zealand entered the tournament as the second-highest ranked squad in the eight-team field. And expectedly,the Kiwis had no problem against the Indians,who looked completely out of sorts.