Visiting Indian hockey team came from one goal down to beat Bangladesh 2-1 in the first of the three-match test series at the newly-laid turf at the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan (BKSP) yesterday.
Farhad Ahmed Shitul gave Bangladesh a 30th-minute lead before Gurjinder Singh levelled the margin from a penalty corner in the 32nd minute and Harjeet Singh struck the winner in the next minute. The game was split into four quarters of 15 minutes each.
The Indian national team is generally dominated by players from Punjab and there is no exception in this second-string side either, as there are seven players from Punjab and they are the ones who form the nucleus of the side.
Defenders Gurjinder and Gurmail Singh thwarted Bangladesh's sporadic attacks while Harjeet and Gurinder Singh made the inroads in the attack behind striker Talwinder Singh.
Though penalty corner specialist Gurpreet Singh is not in this squad, Gurjinder himself is a very promising player, who scored the equaliser and became the man of the match, putting behind Gurmail Singh and Bangladesh goalkeeper Ashim Gop.
“It was a good game even though the pitch was a little bit slippery. But I think we can improve on our performances match by match,” said Gurjinder, who was the top scorer in Indian Hockey League last season with 22 goals and won one crore rupees as the highest goal scorer as well as the best player of the league.
Bangladesh, who suffered a 1-9 defeat to Indian main squad last time around, played comparatively better against the second-string side yesterday but could not build up the game properly. The midfield was the area of concern for the home and the midfielders lost possession number of times, allowing the opposition to dominate. Besides, defender Mamunur Rahman Chayan often deposited the ball to opponents with his unnecessary flick shots which made the task for the other defenders a lot harder.
However, goalkeeper Ashim Gop played brilliantly as he spoilt some penalty corners as well as field attempts from the Indian side.
“I am happy with the result. Our boys implemented the plans sixty per cent and pressed hard in the last quarter and they never gave,” said Bangladesh's Pakistani coach Naveed Alam. “A 2-1 defeat against India is alright but we will be trying to catch up with them in the next match.”
“I am not happy with the result but I am sure in the upcoming matches, our boys will play better hockey,” said Indian coach Tusher Khandoker.