Rio Olympics Men’s Hockey: India draw 2-2 with Canada; make their road ahead tougher
Team India in Rio on Friday; picture credit: The Indian Express
Mumbai: Things have fallen in place for India finally after a long wait of 36 years as they confirmed a place in the quarter-finals, however, not as anticipated. The fact that India drew 2-2 pushed India towards the bottom of Pool B, whereas a win against Canada today could have sealed India the third position rendering the Argentina vs Ireland fixture a dead rubber. If Argentina wins on Friday, India goes down to the fourth place only to face the top team from Group A.
A match which should and could have been a clean win in India’s favour turned rather in support of Canada till the very last second. With a rather passive first half from both sides leaving the scoreboard untouched at 0-0, second half made up for the missing action and how.
Even after a great start from India making their way into the Canadian ‘Dee’, lack of support on more than one occasion proved only dangerous towards the end. Hamanpreet and Surinder whizzed the ball in but Canada’s defense was all set to break the tempo. Amidst the drama, S.V Sunil injured his wrist and was taken off the field on a stretcher.
India hit the scoreboard first with a penalty corner by Akashdeep with a brilliant reverse stick shot in the third quarter. The score was only levelled by Canada’s Scott Tupper in a real quick revenge attack in about three minutes from the first goal.
Ramandeep later scored a field goal, India’s second since their opening campaign, after an exceptional pass from Raghunath to give India a 2-1 lead.
However, the lead was short-lived as Scott Tupper took advantage of a penalty corner again to bring Canada back to level. The climax left both the teams dejected as India should have won the game by a decent margin and inversely, for Canada getting a few chances in the dying minutes of the game considering a team minus the goalie, one more goal would only mean a memorable exit from Rio.
To conclude, Canada held on for a gritty draw. India finished the group stages with seven points and Canada opening their points table with a solitary point.