India beat Austria 4-3 to end Europe tour on a high. Ramandeep Singh and Chinglensana Singh Kangujam struck twice to guide the Indian men’s hockey team to a sensational 4-3 win over Austria in their final encounter of the Europe Tour here. Double goals from Ramandeep (25th minute, 32nd) and Chinglensana (37th, 60th) helped India end the tour with three wins and two loses. For Austria, Oliver Binder (14th), Michael Korper (53rd) and Patrick Schmidt (55th) sounded the board. After two successive wins against World No.4 The Netherlands, India made a steady start against Austria. While they kept most of the ball possession, penetrating into the striking circle was hard to come by. In fact, it was Austria who took an early lead through Oliver Binder’s goal in the 14th minute to end the first quarter 1-0. India, however, made amends in the second quarter when they won a PC in the 25th minute. A clever variation saw comeback-man Amit Rohidas pass the ball to Ramandeep Singh who deflected the ball into the circle to equalise the scores.The 10-minute halftime break saw India comeback into the game as a stronger team with better attack. They made better circle penetrations and a brilliant breakthrough came in when Ramandeep scored a rollicking field goal in the 32nd minute. It was a reverse hit from the top of circle which flew past the Austrian goalkeeper to give India a 2-1 lead. India found another chance to score when Mandeep Singh helped win a PC through a stick check.But the opportunity went amiss with the ball hitting the cross bar. However, another opportunity created by Mandeep was successfully converted by Vice Captain Chinglensana in the 37th minute through a superb variation by drag-flicker Varun Kumar. Going into the final 15 minutes, India had a comfortable 3-1 lead. But a determined Austria put one past the India goalkeeper when they won a PC and Michael Korper converted it successfully in the 53rd minute to set up a close finish.
Though India had won a PC only minutes before, thanks to forward Gurjant Singh, injector Manpreet Singh sent the ball slightly wide. With a little over eight minutes left, forward Lalit Upadhyay found a great opportunity to score but his strike was brilliantly saved by the Austrian goalkeeper.
Austria then pushed India on the back foot when they scored in the 55th minute via Patrick Schmidt to equalise 3-3.
It was a tense final few minutes with India pushing hard for a goal. With just 10 seconds left for the final hooter, Chinglensana scored a sensational goal when Ramandeep made a brilliant circle penetration to find Gurjant Singh.
A cross hit by Gurjant saw Chinglensana deflect the ball into the goal and seal the match with winning points.
India will return from the Europe Tour tomorrow. (PTI)
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