India men claimed a stunning 2-1 victory over reigning World and European champions Belgium on a busy day of world class action in the FIH Hockey Pro League.
The day’s play started at the North Harbour Hockey Stadium in Auckland, where New Zealand’s men got the better of Great Britain to claim a bonus point thanks to a shoot-out victory after the two sides finished with the scores locked together at 1-1. A fine backhand strike from Stephen Jenness put the Black Sticks ahead in the third quarter of the match, with Great Britain eventually restoring parity thanks to Christopher Griffiths’ composed, volleyed finish four minutes from the end. With both teams taking a point for the draw, it was New Zealand who took the bonus point courtesy of an excellent goalkeeping performance in the shoot-out from Player of the Match Richard Joyce, who only conceded just once as the Black Sticks emerged 3-1 winners.
Speaking after the match, Richard Joyce said: “We’ve always had our troubles against GB. They are a pretty good team, they attack with pace and I think we did a really well to absorb their counter-attacks and capitalise on our chances.”
More information on the match can be found on the live reporting page by clicking here.
Great Britain’s women produced a stellar performance against hosts New Zealand, scoring three times without reply to claim their first win of the 2020 FIH Hockey Pro League. Tessa Howard opened the scoring nine minutes into the match with a finish from close range, with Charlotte Watson’s emphatic penalty stroke doubling GB’s advantage in the second quarter. The Black Sticks rallied in the third quarter but failed to find the goal that they so desperately needed before Player of the Match Shona McCallin put the result beyond all doubt, sliding in to score GB’s third to give Mark Hager an impressive 3-0 away victory over his former side.
Great Britain’s Lily Owsley said: “There’s a lot of relief – we’re glad to start the ball rolling and it was a great game. After last weekend’s disappointment [against Australia] we needed that and hopefully we’ll come out tomorrow and get even more points from this trip.”
For more information, click here.
Belgium’s return to the stadium where they lifted the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2018 was not to be a happy one, with India claiming a 2-1 victory over the world’s number one ranked team at Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium. India needed just 90 second to take the lead when Mandeep Singh deflected home from close range, with Belgium eventually pulling level in the third quarter thanks to Gauthier Boccard’s penalty corner rocket. India’s winning goal arrived one minute into the final quarter through Ramandeep Singh before the hosts repelled intense pressure from their illustrious opponents to seal a win that sees them move second behind Belgians in the FIH Hockey Pro League standings. Belgium created a host of goal-scoring opportununites, but superb goalkeeping performances from Krishan Pathak and PR Sreejesh – who played two quarters each – played a crucial role in what is a famous victory for India.
India goalkeeper Krishan Pathak, who was named Player of the Match, said: “We started well and worked very hard. We are very proud of our defence of our PCs [penalty corners].”
For more information, click here.
The FIH Hockey Pro League continues on later today when Argentina’s teams play the second matches of their respective double headers against USA women and Spain men, with New Zealand and India hosting second matches on Sunday (9 February). A list of this weekend’s fixtures can be found below, with the complete match schedule available by clicking here.
FIH Hockey Pro League
Match Day 12 – Saturday 08 February 2020
North Harbour Hockey Stadium, Auckland (NZL)
Men’s result: New Zealand 1, Great Britain 1 3-1 After Shoot-Out (Match 1 of 2)
Player of the Match: Richard Joyce (GK – NZL)
Umpires: Lim Hong-Zhen (SGP), Steve Rogers (AUS) & Aleisha Neumann (AUS – video)
Women’s result: New Zealand 0, Great Britain 3 (Match 1 of 2)
Player of the Match: Shona McCallin (GBR)
Umpires: Irene Presenqui (ARG), Aleisha Neumann (AUS) & Steve Rogers (AUS – video)
Kalinga Hockey Stadium, Bhubaneswar (IND)
Men’s result: India 2, Belgium 1 (Match 1 of 2)
Player of the Match: Krishan Pathak (GK – IND)
Umpires: David Tomlinson (NZL), Coen van Bunge (NED) & Gareth Greenfield (NZL – video)
Upcoming fixtures – Saturday 08 February 2020
Buenos Aires (ARG) – Women: Argentina v USA (Match 2 of 2)
Time: 1800 (GMT/UTC -3)
Buenos Aires (ARG) – Men: Argentina v Spain (Match 2 of 2)
Time: 2030 (GMT/UTC -3)
Sunday 9 February 2020
Auckland (NZL) – Men: New Zealand v Great Britain (Match 2 of 2)
Time: 1700 (GMT/UTC +13)
Auckland (NZL) – Women: New Zealand v Great Britain (Match 2 of 2)
Time: 1930 (GMT/UTC +13)
Bhubaneswar (IND) – Men: India v Belgium (Match 2 of 2)
Time: 1700 (GMT/UTC +5.30)