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India waste 9 PCs, settle for 1-1 draw against England 

Ipoh: India wasted chances galore to settle for a 1-1 draw against England in their second match at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament here today. The draw gave India their first point in the tournament after having lost 2-3 to Olympics champions Argentina in their tournament opener on Saturday. By virtue of this draw, last year’s bronze medallist India are placed fourth in the points tally of the six-team tournament. Shilanand Lakra (14th minute) scored his first international goal in the dying minutes of the first quarter to give India the lead, which the Men in Blue maintained until Mark Gleghorne converted a penalty stroke in the 53rd minute. The young and inexperienced India had only themselves to blame for not winning the game as they wasted as many as nine penalty corners and a few field goals. They were slow to get off the blocks as England put pressure on their citadel with continuous raids upfront. The Sardar Singh-led side took the lead against the run of play a minute before the end of the first quarter when Lakra pounced on a rebound after Talwinder Singh’s shot was saved by England goalkeeper Harry Gibson.The Indians, however, were on top in the second quarter and earned as many as eight penalty corners, but dragflickers Varun Kumar and Amit Rohidas failed to breach the England defence, led by goalkeeper George Pinner, who replaced Gibson after the first goal.The third quarter witnessed a midfield slugfest as England pressed hard for the equaliser. In the process, they conceded another penalty corner, but India failed to make use of this too. The Indians secured their ninth and final penalty corner in the 48th minute but failed to utilise the opportunity yet again.  Seven minutes from the final hooter, England were awarded a penalty stroke for a stick infringement inside the Indian circle and Gleghorne stepped up to convert the chance with ease. Thereafter, both the teams tried hard to find a winner but to no avail.

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