SOJC : Great Britain secure their place in the Sultan of Johor Cup finals with a victory over India
Photo Credits : GB Hockey
Great Britain secured their place in their second consecutive Sultan of Johor Cup final with a dramatic victory over India.
Needing a win to give themselves the best possible chance of qualifying, second half goals from Stuart Rushmere and Eddie Way sealed yet another impressive comeback.
That came after they trailed 2-1 at half-time, with Vishnukant Singh and Shilanand Lakra on target for the two-time champions while Cameron Golden scored for the third straight game for GB.
With Japan unable to get the five goal victory they needed over Malaysia, the results means the U21s will face the Indians – who had two strikes disallowed – in what is set to be an enthralling final.
Seeking to maintain their 100% record, India came out firing with Vishnukant eventually converting their third corner in quick succession before Golden equalised less than a minute later, pouncing after confusion in the Indian circle.
India then and thought they had put themselves back in front though a stunning Gursahibjit Singh deflection, only for it to be disallowed, before James Mazarelo was called into action just 30 seconds after coming off the bench to kick an effort clear.
There was nothing he could do to stop Lakra’s deflection from a Mandeep Mor corner flying into the roof of the net, with Britain unable to muster any efforts of note before half-time.
They piled on the pressure at the start of the second half though, with Nick Park almost squeezing the ball through Kamalbir Singh’s legs while Eddie Way a one corner effort saved.
The equaliser seemed inevitable though and it came in the 40th minute as Rushmere pounced after another Way corner was blocked, before India almost grabbed themselves another on the counter but Yashdeep Siwach managed to clear the bar when it looked easier to score.
The final quarter was even more frantic, with Kamilbir thwarting Gareth Griffiths before Way’s drag flick flashed wide of the post.
He made no mistake in the 51st minute though, producing a superb flick into the corner of the goal to give his side the lead before seeing two more attempts blocked.
The drama wasn’t over though as India thought they had grabbed an equaliser, only for the umpires to have adjudged that the ball hit Lakra’s body on its way into the goal.
James Oates then came close to extending their lead further in the final minute but dragged his shot wide, although it wouldn’t matter too much in the end as Japan losts to hosts Malaysia in their final group game.
You can watch Great Britain attempt to win their second Sultan of Johor title at 13:35 tomorrow.
Starting XI: Payne (GK), Nurse, Draper, Oates, Turner, Griffiths, Ramshaw, Park, Way (C), Mackenzie, Scott
Subs: Mazarelo (GK), Buckle, West, Crowson, Russell, Golden, Rushmere