In an utter heartbreak for the Indian junior men's hockey team, they lost the final of the 2019 Sultan of Johor Cup to Great Britain. In a game where India seemed the better team for most part, it was lack of conversion of penalty corners and other opportunities that proved to be India's undoing. The British team succeeded because of their perseverence and solid defending along with good goalkeeping.
India had the upper hand from the begining of the first quarter. Most of the good work was being done by India's two brilliant attackers Dilpreet Singh and Maninder Singh. The latter was especially efficient in making some magnificent runs through the midifield and defence of Great Britain - one of them almost leading to a goal in early minutes of the game.
Dilpreet too came into his own shortly and earned a penalty corner for his team. However, a great save from the GB goalkeeper James Mazarelo prevented India from taking the lead. The British team were unable to mount any decent attacks as the Indian forwards, with Gursahibjeet Singh also joining in, kept the pressure on them.
The same pattern continued in the second quarter. The Indian frontline kept getting closer to scoring and earned three more penalty corners but the British defence was holding on well. Despite trying variatons, the three penalty corners in the second quarter too didn't yield any results.
On the odd occassion when the GB team did try to lauch an attack, the Indian defenders had their rivals well-marked. However, things started to change in the last minutes of the first half. Suddenly, the midfield of the British team started to find channels through the Indian midfield and defence. There was one great chance for Great Britain's Rohan Bhuhi with a clear shot at the goal but he missed.
Eventually, India managed to soak all the pressure exerted by the British team and the first half ended scoreless for both teams.
Normal service resumed in the second half as India continued to mount attack after attack which were denied by good defending and bad execution from India. The two goalkeepers that Great Britain used, Mazarelo and Oliver Payne, both made great saves and the defenders managed to stay calm in situations were India were a hair's breadth away from scoring.
Things turned around in the last quarter as India earned their seventh penalty corner. This time, it worked as Gursahibjit Singh deflected the ball into the goal. Suddenly, it seemed India were destined to win this game. But the joy was shortlived. Nicholas Park came up with a brilliant run from the left flank and passed the ball to Matthew Ramshaw and he earned a penalty corner. As a result, less than a minute after India taking the lead, GB had equalised.
The game now became more open as both teams began to look for the winner. Park and Ramshaw continued to test the Indian defence along with Stuart Rushmere. For India, Sanjay was making some good runs, but to no effect.
But then, right at the end of the game, with less than 20 seconds remaining, a long pass from the midfield got trapped inside the circle by Britain's attackers who pounded three shots at the Indian goal which were saved by goalkeeper Prashant Kumar Chouhan. But Rushmere took the fourth shot and converted it into a goal to secure the win for his team.