India came back from a goal behind to beat South Africa 10-2 in an FIH Hockey Pro League match on Sunday. After being defeated 5-2 by France on Saturday, Olympic bronze medalists India recovered in time to avoid another calamity and went on to win their last match in South Africa.
Harmanpreet Singh, the FIH Player of the Year for 2021, scored off a penalty corner in the 36th minute, converted a penalty stroke in the 52nd minute, scored his third goal off another short corner in the 56th minute, and capped out his total with his fourth goal seconds before the long hooter.
After Surinder Kumar (15th minute) had nullified Daniel Bell's 12th-minute strike for South Africa in the first quarter, Shilanand Lakra scored a brace (27th & 48th minutes). India's other scorers were Mandeep Singh (28th minute), Sumit (45th minute), and Shamsher Singh (56th minute), as the World No. 3 triumphed 10-2, the same score as their first match against South Africa on February 9.
South Africa also got a goal from Connor Beauchamp (53rd minute). They won six penalty corners, two of which resulted in goals. Earlier in the game, India appeared to be in trouble in the first quarter as South Africa boosted their play and put up a strong defence in the opening 15 minutes.
India had control and generated some opportunities, but the South African defence foiled them. And when Daniel Bell of South Africa converted their first penalty corner in the 12th minute of the match to give the hosts a 1-0 lead, Indian hockey supporters may have prepared themselves for a repetition of Graham Ried's side's 5-2 loss to France on Saturday.
On Pitch 1 at the University of Northwest, however, India's horror came to an end for the second day in a row as Manpreet Singh's side tied the score seconds before the first quarter ended. With Matthew De Sousa out due to a yellow card, South Africa handed Surinder Kumar too much time and space on a free-kick, and the defender rifled the ball into the cage and past the goalie to tie the game at 1-1.
The game's momentum shifted three minutes before halftime, as India scored twice in three minutes to take a 3-1 lead. India then went on a goal-scoring rampage in the fourth quarter, scoring five goals between the 48th and 60th minutes, three of which were scored by Harmanpreet Singh.
The Indians had a lot of chances in the form of penalties in their defeat against France on Saturday. But in the next match, they converted 3 of the six short corners that they had earned.