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JWC 2016 Lucknow
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JMWC 2016: India overcomes stiff South African Cha (12/12/2016)
--s2h team
Low steam India faced stiff challenge from South Africa before snatching its third consecutive victory today at the Major Dhyan Chand stadium in Lucknow, to top the pool D. Mandeep Singh's spectacular diving reverse hand shot in the 55th minute gave India the winner after captain Harjeet Singh's goal was evened out by an immaculate penalty corner conversion of sturdy K. Lion-Catchet. Despite 2-1 win, India for the first time in the Junior World Cup looked a beatable side, after churning out two stupendous performance this week.

With nine points India top Pool D and majestically qualifies for the quarterfinal. Tomorrow's match between England and Canada will decide the second qualifier from this pool.

India started the proceedings on a brisk note, generating quick-silver attacks from both flanks, and surprising the African giants with deep overheads.

Arman Qureshi early on sent a strong backhand only to see agile goalie kicking it from danger with his right leg. Moments later Nilakanta Singh, gem from Manipur, hit from other side of the circle, and saw agonisingly the ball just inches off the target.

After these two close misses, skipper Harjeet Singh bounced on to a Gurjant Singh’s minus from left backline to push hard into right side of the net 1-1) in the 11th minute.

Indians looked formidable at this juncture with better ball possession and nippy turn overs, but slowly the Africans gained ascendency.

undefined South Africa converted its first penalty corner that came after Manpreet Junior stick checked a forward on the right top edge of the circle. Sturdy Keyle Lion-Cachet delayed his drag, studied the rival disposition and let his fierce push reach home on his onside of the net (1-1).

This equalizer came moments after South Africa, now improving by leap and bounds would just miss a sitter, hitting a close range ball on the chest of Vikas Dhaiya who narrowed the angle.

In a closely knit attack Simranjit carried the ball to let go a golden chance to go up. However, moments later India got its second penalty corner but the pushed ball was not stopped properly for any worthy attack to come off.

India also missed its first penalty corner in the 17th minute and saw Harmanpreet’s straight push could not go beyond the pads of rival goalie.

The sides changed sides with levelled scoreline.

The ordeal of penalty corners, where most teams struggled at stopping the pushed ball, came to haunt India when it got its third penalty corner in the 49th minute. On the bounced ball, Nilakanta Sharma took a hard push but was well anticipated and cleared.

In the 55th minute, Indian camp came alive. Hardeep sent another of good push into D, Mandeep received after it bounced from a defender and then turned full before whacking the ball to the right of goalie (2-1).

Ajit Pandey had a chance to enhance Indian lead in the 58th minute but he harried his forehand from right top side of D.

Eight minutes into the clock, Harjeet Singh's pacy run and ball control saw him spiliting the defence and sending the ball to D where Mandeep Singh trapped neatly, but before he attempted a shot South African captain made a daring body tackle to deny Mandeep another goal.

Manpreet Junior made a neat tackle in the midfield and sent a guile push into D, but Mandeep again could not give that touch, allowing the ball go home though. Africans made a couple of good saves in the last five minutes even as Harjeet failed to put the ball into the net.

South Africa got a chance to level when they got their penalty just withing 150 seconds from hooter, after missing a field goal chance.

Lion-Cachet now could not convert, as his drag going way off right post.

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