Indian Hockey team have started the second leg of the Four-Nation Invitational Tournament with a dominant 3-2 win over hosts New Zealand in Hamilton. While Lalit Upadhyay, Harjeet Singh, and Rupinder Pal Singh scored for India, Daniel Harris and Kane Russell scored the two goals for the hosts.
Putting behind the disappointment of the first-leg final loss, the Indian team has started the second leg of the tournament on a positive note as Lalit opened the scoring for India as early as in the seventh minute of the game. It was a brilliant team effort as Vivek's reverse hit rebounded off the New Zealand keeper first and found Upadhyay in front of the net, who edged past Devon Manchester to give India a 1-0 lead.
After going a goal down, New Zealand staged a fight back in the second quarter of the game by constantly attacking the Indian circle, which kept PR Sreejesh busy for the entire passage of the game. One such circle penetration helped the hosts win their first penalty corner in the match but Kane Russell's drag flick was brilliantly saved by Sreejesh. However, that attack was just a sign of things to come as an error by an Indian defender saw the Kiwis equalise in the 23rd minute of the game through a Harris rebound.
With the game levelled at 1-1 during the change of ends, India came back with a completely fresh approach and striker Mandeep Singh, taking the benefit of that, earned his team their first penalty corner in the 32nd minute that Harjeet successfully converted into a goal to help India gain the lead. Four minutes later, Lalit won India their second penalty corner and specialist Rupinder Pal Singh improvised Ramandeep Singh's injection to find the bottom right of the post easily.
However, a minute later, the hosts bagged a penalty corner once again and this time, Russell successfully executed it by keeping the ball low to the left pocket. The last quarter saw New Zealand make many desperate attempts to find an equalizer but Indian defence stood tall to nullify them with ease.