Indian men’s hockey team defeated world number 9 New Zealand in a three-match Series here at the Sports Authority of India club on Sunday.Showing some brilliant sticks work, the Indian team thrashed the New Zealand side by 4-0 registering their consecutive victory in the series. As the home team wrapped up much-needed practice matches before Asian Games, Chief Coach Harendra Singh expressed content with his team’s performance.”Playing high-intensity matches against one of the top 10 teams in the world ahead of a crucial event like the Asian Games is beneficial for us.During these three matches, we tried out different combinations and variations in PC and we are better prepared for the upcoming Tournament,” Harendra Singh said. “We had specifically worked on different variations in goal scoring and I believe the team still has scope to improve our field goal conversation rate. We missed quite a few easy chances today and we need to work on this ahead of the Asian Games,” he added. In the first quarter, India took a 1-0 lead after drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh scored off the team’s second Penalty Corner. He fired low towards the right corner of the post, taking his personal goal count to four goals in the series against New Zealand. India’s second goal came in the 15th minute of match, which was scored by defender Surendra Kumar with help of Rupinder Pal Singh.The third goal came for India came in the 44th minute through forward player Mandeep Singh. It was Indian captain Sardar Singh, who set up the goal as he worked magic with his stick making way from the left flank, beating New Zealand defenders to find Simranjeet Singh who later flicked it to Mandeep. A simple yet clever deflection was enough to beat New Zealand goalkeeper George Enersen. It was the Indian forward Akashdeep Singh who was enthralling as he scored the home team’s fourth goal in 60th minute, taking India’s winning scoreline to 4-0. The victory holds significance for the Indian team in the backdrop of the upcoming 18th Asian Games. On a related note, Asian games are slated to be held from August 18 to September 2 in Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang.
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