India could not maintain their winning momentum in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2016, as they lost 2-1 to New Zealand in Ipoh, Malaysia, Wednesday. There was not much to choose between the two teams in terms of their performance, but New Zealand scored the goals, which matters most, to secure a win.
India will have to defeat Malaysia in order to reach the final of the competition, while Australia have already booked their gold medal match slot.
India and New Zealand looked good in the initial stages of the game, with players from both teams going in search for that elusive goal, to take an early lead. New Zealand were trying to play the ball hard and long to their forwards, but they did not trouble the Indian goalkeeper much.
On the other hand, India could not get into the danger area consistently to scare the New Zealand defence, and neither team managed to break the deadlock in the first quarter.
India received their first penalty corner in the 20th minute, but Devon Manchester denied India the lead with a brilliant diving save. Though both teams were attacking the goal, it was New Zealand, who converted a penalty corner to take the lead in the 28th minute.
The third quarter was a lively one, with India getting back into the game brilliantly by scoring in the 36th minute via Mandeep Singh. But, New Zealand kept applying pressure and they took the lead in the 41st minute. It was Nicholas Wilson, who took advantage of India's spotty defence, to slot the all-important goal.
India received a major chance to get back into the game, earning a penalty corner in the 46th minute, which was denied by the New Zealand goalkeeper as Rupinder Pal Singh failed to level the score. With six minutes left in the game to end, India received another penalty corner, but drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh also failed to find the back of the net.
India were going all out for the equaliser in the dying minutes of the game, but failed to score the second goal.