NZ holds off India's fightback to seal spot in final

The Indian men's team beat England to qualify for the semifinals.   -  AFP

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4:35 pm: New Zealand wins the semifinal 3-2 and progress to the final. India will now go into the bronze-medal match against Australia or England. A good fightback from India, which was 2-0 down at the end of the first half. However, conceding a third in the third quarter proved fatal.

4:30 pm: GOAL, for India! Harmanpreet Singh gives India a slim chance of progressing through to the final. One-goal deficit to make up with three minutes of the match left.

4:29 pm: One penalty-corner followed by another for India with four minutes left to play.

4:27: Nothing comes of the penalty-corner and India still behind by two goals.

4:26 pm: Penalty-corner to India with five minutes of the match left to play. A goal here will lead to a grandstand finish.

4:25 pm: New Zealand, with a two-goal buffer, is keen on running down the clock. India is having a hard time trying to regain possession.

4:21 pm: POST! India almost halves the deficit. But a ferocious strike catches the far post and India is denied.

4:15 pm: The fourth quarter is underway and India's hopes of reaching the final hang by a thread.

4:13 pm: At the end of the third quarter, New Zealand is ahead by two goals and primed to qualify for the final and also assure itself of a medal.

4:12 pm: End to end this match now, and both teams could have scored in the space of a couple of seconds. India first drew a save from the New Zealand goalkeeper and an immediate turnover results in New Zealand having a shot on goal. P. R. Sreejesh comes to India's rescue.

4:08 pm: India draws a save from the New Zealand goalkeeper, but India has a lot of work to do here.

4:06 pm: GOAL, New Zealand 3-1 India! Some clever play in the penalty area by the Blacksticks and P. R. Sreejesh doesn't manage to keep the ball out for a second time, having saved a shot earlier.

4:05 pm: No damage done and the score remains New Zealand 2-1 India.

4:04 pm: Penalty-corner to New Zealand!

3:58 pm: Heroic goalkeeping from Joyce and some good defending too, from New Zealand. But India has been profligate since the start of the second half. It, however, has plenty of time to turn this match around.

3:55 pm: India doesn't make the most of it and the score remains 1-2.

3:54 pm: Penalty-corner to India!

3:53 pm: New Zealand's Kane Russell appears injured and is helped off the pitch by the doctor.

3:50 pm: India gets the second half underway, trailing New Zealand by a goal.

At half-time: New Zealand 2-1!

3:40 pm: GOAL! India halves the deficit with Harmanpreet Singh converting the penalty stroke. An interesting passage of play with India first awarded a penalty-corner which preceded India winning a penalty which was dispatched coolly to the right of the New Zealand goalie, Joyce! And that's half-time too, in the semifinals. New Zealand is still in the lead but a goal right at the stroke of half-time might shift the momentum in India's favour.

3:35 pm: Another moment of danger for India but its goalkeeper, P. R. Sreejesh, steps out of his line and puts the ball out of play. Danger averted for the moment!

3:32 pm: The referee awarded New Zealand a penalty-corner but the Indian players asked him to go to the TV umpire and get the decision in their favour.

3:29 pm: Nothing materialises from the penalty-corner and the ensuing counter-attack from India is also stopped in its tracks by the Blackcaps.

3:28 pm: A penalty-corner to New Zealand, which is making the most of the momentum it gained from the first half.

3:19 pm: End of the first quarter and New Zealand is 2-0 up against India! India did not make its early dominance count and New Zealand has taken the two opportunities it has had. Work ahead for the Men in Blue.

3:16 pm: GOAL! Stephen Jenness doubles New Zealand's lead with a well-placed shot through the legs of P. R. Sreejesh.

3:09 pm: GOAL! New Zealand takes the lead through Hugo Inglis after a turnover in the middle of the park. India had been completely dominant and now needs to redeem itself.

3:06 pm: An impressive start from India, which is dominating possession and has come close to scoring already. New Zealand defence

3:00 pm: The players are out in the middle and ready to get the match underway.

 

2:45 pm: The XI who will take the field against New Zealand: P. R. Sreejesh (GK), Harmanpreet Singh, Kothajit Singh, Manpreet Singh (C), Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Upadhyay, Varun Kumar, Akashdeep Singh, Chinglensana Singh, Amit Rohidas

 

The Indian men's hockey team can assure itself of a medal if it beats New Zealand in the semifinals of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Friday (April 13). India boasts as many as seven players who featured in the semifinals against the Blackcaps in the 2014 Glasgow Games and will look to utilise the experience and familiarity to its advantage.

Friday's meeting between India and New Zealand will be the 96th between these sides, which met for the first time in 1926. India beat New Zealand 3-2 in Glasgow four years ago and also won an Olympic qualifier in Auckland in 1991. 

This will be the fourth time that these two sides meet in Commonwealth Games. And in this competition also, India leads the head to head 2-1, scoring seven goals and conceding five.