Friday, October 23, 2009

India beat Canada 3-1, take 5-0 series lead

Shivendra Singh scored twice as India defeated Canada 3-1 to extend their lead to 5-0 in the seven-match hockey Test series at Tamanawis Park here on Friday.

Shivendra found the net in the 20th and 65th minutes, while in between Sarwanjit Singh scored in the 54th minute to help India's cause.

Gabbar Singh pulled one back for the Canada, converting a penalty stroke in the 47th minute.

The visitors have already taken an unassailable 5-0 lead in the series with one match drawn and will sign off their tour with the seventh and last Test here on Saturday.

The Indians could have registered the victory by a bigger margin had they not missed as many as six penalty corners and an equal number of open field chances.

Canada, on the other hand, were denied any short corner because of an alert and agile Indian defence, which made clean clearances from their danger zone.

India went into the offensive as early as in the opening minute of the match, winning a penalty corner when striker Gurvinder Chandi struck the foot of Wayne Fernandes but the pullout could not be stopped.

Short after, two more scoring chances went abegging as Roshan Minz and Danish Mujtaba failed to beat Canada goalkeeper Matt Peck.

The Indian midfield consisting of Gurbaj Singh, Sardar Singh and Raghunath constantly created space for the forwards but Canadian defenders Fernandes, Adam Froese and Scott Sandison put up a resolute resistance.

India, however, took the lead in the 20th minute when Shivendra struck home from captain Sandeep Singh's slapshot.

The visitors won two more penalty corners in the opening session but failed to find the net on both the occasion.

The Indians continued to miss chances when Sarwanjit first deflected wide from Rajpal Singh's cross and then missed the mark off a long set up by Raghunath.

Canada came close to scoring but for India custodian PR Sreejesh who thwarted the attempt of Ranjeev Deol to see the visitors go into the breather with a 1-0 lead.

India began the second half with a penalty corner after left winger Mohd Amir Khan was stick checked inside the circle but Sandeep's drag flick was well stopped by Peck.

Canadian, however, equalised in the 47th minute from an unconvincing penalty stroke awarded for a stick foul by Raghunath and Gabbar made no mistake to level the scores.

From there on, India stepped up the pace and made numerous onslaughts into their rival citadel.

Their efforts finally bore fruit when Sardar Singh outwitted two defenders and set up unmarked Sarwanjit, who smashed past an onrushing Peck to give India 2-1 lead.

Shivendra made it 3-0 for India five minutes from the hooter after Gurbaj and Sardar supported by Arjun Halappa made a foray on the right flank.

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