London, May 27 (IANS) Skipper Harmanpreet Singh struck a brace of goals but India conceded three goals in the second half and slumped to a 4-2 defeat against an all-round superior team in the FIH Pro League 2022-23 here on Saturday.
The victory in an entertaining encounter took Great Britain to the top of the Pro League table. They now have 22 points from nine matches, five outright wins and four draws and three shoot-out bonus points, while India slipped to second position with 19 points from 10 matches with five wins, two wins in shoot-outs and three defeats.
Harmanpreet Singh scored for India in the 15th and 42nd minutes while Timothy Nurse (8th), Thomas Sorsby (31st), Lee Morton (33rd) and Nicholas Bandurak (53rd min) scored for Great Britain.
It was GB who exerted the early pressure, creating plenty of scoring opportunities. Some individual excellence from Nurse got the home side on the scoreboard — the 22-year-old working his way into the circle and then lifting it into the net for his first senior international goal.
India earned the first penalty corner of the match and, as he has done so often in the Pro League, captain Harmanpreet Singh struck with a powerful drag flick producing the equaliser just before the end of the first quarter.
An action-packed second period included a disallowed goal for India and a penalty stroke for GB which was saved by goalkeeper PR Sreejesh to ensure the teams went into the halftime break all square on 1-1.
GB were awarded their first penalty corner at the start of the second half. Nicholas Bandurak’s initial shot was saved, but the ball popped out to Tom Sorsby on the penalty spot who bunted it in for his first senior international goal and the 2-1 lead.
Some individual brilliance from Lee Morton produced GB’s third goal of the match soon after. The Scotsman worked his way into the circle and fired it in from an acute angle.
Harmanpreet was on target again for India at the end of the third quarter with another powerful drag off a penalty corner. That took him to the top of the all-time Pro League scorers list with 35 goals.
With just over six minutes to go in the match, GB were back on the attack. James Oates’ shot from open play was saved, but goalkeeper Sreejesh gloved it straight to Bandurak who spectacularly swatted it in for the 4-2 victory.
The Indians made some good attacks in the fourth quarter but could not even earn a penalty corner as the hosts held their fort with some strong defending.