Azlan Shah: Britain’s 3-2 win v NZ makes it easy for India

India, if it wins by two goals against Malaysia, will meet the defending champion Australia in the final.

Britain's Mark Gleghorne (right) reacts after scoring a goal against New Zealand.   -  AFP

Great Britain defeated New Zealand 3-2 in its last league fixture, a result which made India’s task easy for clinching a place in the final of the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament, here on Friday.

New Zealander Kane Russell’s penalty corner conversion in the 58th minute meant that Great Britain has 10 points and a goal difference of three.

India needs to score a two-goal victory over Malaysia in the last league match, which will take it to 10 points and also provide a superior goal difference compared to Britain. India has a goal difference of two.

Even a one-goal victory for India can be enough to make the final, provided it scores at least three goals, which will ensure it has more goals than Britain.

If India beats Malaysia 1-0 or 2-1, it will leave India and Great Britain with the same number of points, goal difference and goals scored. Since the encounter between India and Great Britain was drawn, that, too, cannot be used to settle the tie.

In such a case, a penalty shootout between India and Great Britain will be required to determine which team goes to the final against Australia.

Australia, which plays its last league fixture against Japan, is virtually assured of a chance to defend its title. It has 10 points and a goal difference of eight.

British coach Bobby Crutchley said he wanted his team to score more goals.

“I would have like to set India a tougher target by scoring more goals,” said Crutchley.

“I’ll now put on the Malaysia shirt and cheer for the Malaysian team in the last match,” said Crutchley.

Great Britain opened the account with a penalty corner conversion by Sam Ward in the ninth minute, only to see New Zealand's Dominic Newman equalise in the 30th minute.

The Britons surged to a 3-1 lead after field goals by Phil Roper (39th minute) and Mark Gleghorne (49th).

New Zealand took off its goalkeeper to add an extra player upfront and managed to earn a penalty corner in the 58th minute that was converted by Russell.

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