India beat Ireland 4-1 to finish 5th in Azlan Shah Cup

IPOH, Mar 10: A resilient India defeated Ireland 4-1 to finish fifth at the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament here on Saturday.
The win enabled India to avenge a 3-2 loss against the same opponent in the last round robin match on Friday.
For India, Varun Kumar scored a brace (fifth and 32nd), while Shilanand Lakra (28th) and Gurjant Singh (37th) found the target once each. Ireland’s lone goal came from Julian Dale in the 48th minute.
India began strongly and earned back-to-back penalty corners in the fifth minute. Though the first attempt was saved, Varun sounded the board from the second chance to hand his side the lead.
India continued its attacking game in the second quarter and achieved success in the 28th minute when striker Shilanand beat Ireland goalkeeper Jamie Carr from close range after being fed by Nilam Sanjeep Xess’s fierce pass from right side of the circle.
India continued in the same vein and won another penalty corner in the 32nd minute and Varun scored with a fierce dragflick past Carr to help India tale a comfortable 3-0 lead.
India’s next goal came off Gurjant’s sticks in the 37th minute. It was brilliant play by Talwinder Singh, who received a good pass from Simranjeet Singh who laid it to Gurjant and the young striker from Punjab made no mistake in slotting the ball home.
Though India conceded a goal in the 48th minute, the team’s defence remained resolute throughout the match restricting Ireland’s number of circle entries.
India earned another penalty corner in the 50th minute and another one towards the dying minutes of the match, but it failed to make use of both the opportunities.