India went down 2-3 to to New Zealand in a hard fought contest in the 4 Nations Invitational Tournament in Melbourne on Satuday. India went into the final quarter of the game with a 1-0 lead but saw that crash with two quick goals from the Black Sticks. Later, another one was added by the Kiwis before India drew one back late on. In the end, it wasn’t enough for the Asian Champions Trophy to get a win and now they will play Malaysia for the third or fourth place place on Sunday. Both goals came courtesy Rupinder Pal Singh for India.
India took the lead in the 18th minute after New Zealand had started the better of the two teams. Akashdeep Singh robbed New Zealand of the ball near the circle and pushed forward only for the attack to be stopped by George Enersen. From the rebound, Akashdeep Singh struck a first time shot but the ball caught the foot of Kane Russell which produced a penalty stroke for India.
The job for penalty stroke came to the top scorer from the Asian Champions Trophy Rupinder who made no mistake from the spot, dispatching the ball into the bottom left. The goal made it 1-0 to India.
Akash Chikte produced the goods in the third quarter to maintain India’s lead. Matt Rees-Gibbs was on hand at the far post score for the Kiwis and a simple contact would’ve been enough to equalise matters. But with a not so perfect contact, Chikte dived full length to block the attempt.
However, in the final quarter, things turned sour for the Indian team. Shortly after the quick breather, Nick Ross levelled things for New Zealand in the 47th minute, before Jacob Smith gave them the lead in the very next minute and take a 2-1 advantage.
The ask of drawing back into the things was made even more difficult when Hugo Inglis scored in the 57th minute as India went looking for an equaliser.
Rupinder added one from the penalty corner spot to make it 2-3 and force some nervous moments for the Kiwis in the final minutes. But they held on for the win.
The final will be played between Australia and New Zealand with India and Malaysia competing for the third and fourth place which will be played on Sunday at 10.30 AM IST.