Junior Hockey World Cup Day 2: India see off Canada, just about

Junior Hockey World CupIndia now face Korea on Tuesday in what will be a must-win for them. Should they draw, Korea will make the quarters on goal difference (IE Photo Praveen Khanna)

If India go on to win the ongoing Under-21 Hockey World Cup - which on the evidence of their first two matches looks increasingly unlikely - they would look back to Friday's game against Canada and admit that the couple of reviews that went their way in the final two minutes were the turning point.

The hard-fought 3-2 win in this Pool C match - which came on the back of the 3-2 loss to the Netherlands on Thursday - means India live to fight another day. But the scoreline could have been the opposite, if not for the video referrals.

Having come back twice in the match, India were level at 2-2 and repeatedly raiding Canada's circle looking for the winner. During one such attempt, in the 68th minute, Akashdeep Singh, unable to find any room to maneuver the ball, went for the legs for his marker, hoping to get a penalty corner.

The umpire said play on, but coach Baljt Singh Saini came charging down to the sideline, animatedly asking for a video referral. The replays were inconclusive, but the TV umpire decided the ball had hit the defender's legs. It was a PC. Ramandeep Singh walked to the byline to push the ball. Gurjinder Singh, who had wasted the previous PC after counter-intuitively going for a variation, gave it his all in this flick and beat the goalie to his left. India were leading for the first time in the match.

Referral saves

However, looking to salvage a point with two minutes left, Canada went on the offensive. Spencer Curran received a pass inside the circle and looked to unleash an almighty hit, but Talwinder Singh made the clearance while also bringing the Canadian down in the process. Canada appealed for a referral and penalty corner. There were eight seconds left. The TV umpire pondered over the footage for a minute and decided against the PC. India exhaled.

... contd.

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