Amstelveen, August 17: Indian men's hockey team registered a thrilling victory over Austria and finished its European tour on a high note on Wednesday night. India ended the tour with three wins and two losses.
After two successive wins against World No.4 Netherlands, the Indian Men’s Hockey team made a steady start against Austria. While they kept most of the ball possession, penetrating into the striking circle was hard to come by. In fact, it was Austria who took an early lead through Oliver Binder’s goal in the 14th minute to end the quarter 1-0.
India, however, made amends in the second quarter when they won a PC in the 25th minute. A clever variation saw comeback-man Amit Rohidas pass the ball to Ramandeep Singh who deflected the ball into the circle to equalise the score to 1-1.
The 10-minute halftime break saw India come back into the game as a stronger team with better attack. They made better circle penetrations and a brilliant breakthrough came in when Ramandeep scored a rollicking field goal in the 32nd minute. It was a reverse hit from the top of the circle which flew past the Austrian goalkeeper to give India a 2-1 lead.
India found another chance to score when Mandeep Singh helped win a PC through a stick check. But the opportunity when amiss with the ball hitting the cross bar. However, another opportunity created by Mandeep again was successfully converted by Vice Captain Chinglensana Singh in the 37th minute through a superb variation by drag-flicker Varun Kumar.
Going into the final 15 minutes, India had a comfortable 3-1 lead. But a determined Austria put one past the India goalkeeper when they won a PC and Michael Korpher converted it successfully in the 53rd minute to set up a close finish. Though India had won a PC only minutes before- thanks to forward Gurjant Singh, injector Manpreet Singh sent the ball slightly wide. With a little over eight minutes left, forward Lalit Upadhyay found a great opportunity to score. But was brilliantly saved by the Austrian goalkeeper.
Austria then pushed India on the back foot when they scored in the 55th minute via Patrick Schmidt to equalise 3-3. It was a tense final few minutes with India pushing hard for a goal. With just 10 seconds left for the final hooter, Chinglensana scored a sensational goal when Ramandeep made a brilliant circle penetration to find Gurjant Singh. A cross hit by Gurjant saw Chinglensana deflect the ball into the goal and seal the match with winning points.
It was double goals by Ramandeep Singh and Chinglensana Singh Kanjugam that saw India through against Austria. Earlier, India defeated Netherlands by a 2-0 and 4-3 in the Robo Super Series. The Robo Super series is part of India's tour of Europe.