Mandeep Singh struck two field goals in the final quarter as India began their FIH Pro League campaign with a 4-3 win over New Zealand on Friday. Mandeep scored in the 51st and 56th minute after India were down 2-3 at the end of the third quarter. Mandeep Mor (13th) and captain Harmanpreet Singh (41st) were the other goal-getters for India who are ranked fifth in the world. World No. 9 New Zealand scored through Sam Lane (22nd and 35th) and Jake Smith (34th).

New Zealand showed more attacking intent in the early exchanges. India goalkeeper PR Sreejesh was called into action early in the match as he saved a deflected long-range attempt.

It was India, however, who got the first penalty corner of the match but Shamsher Singh wasted the chance.

India took the lead from the first chance of the match. Nilakanta Sharma found Mor free on the right with an accurate pass before the latter fired past New Zealand goalkeeper Dominic Dixon.

India were in the ascendency and threatened to double the lead in the early period of the second quarter. But it was the Black Sticks who equalised seven minutes into the quarter from their first penalty corner.

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The shot from Sam Lane was blocked in front of goal by Surender Kumar. The visiting team went for a review and replays showed that the ball came off Surender’s foot. Lane found the bottom corner of Indian goal from the spot.

Soon after, New Zealand got another penalty corner but this time Krishan Bahadur Pathak who came in for Sreejesh blocked the ball but it fell to Simon Child whose attempt went wide.

Just before half time, India came close to taking the lead but Sukhjeet Singh’s shot from a narrow angle off an Abhishek assist hit straight to Dixon who fumbled initially before averting the danger.

Till the half time when the score was 1-1, India had five shots at opposition goal as against two of New Zealand and nine circle penetrations as against seven of the visiting team. The ball possession was almost equal. The Black Sticks had two penalty corners as against one of India till half time.

The third quarter was an exciting contest and New Zealand surged ahead with two quick goals in the 34th and 35th minute.

But, India pulled one back in the 41st minute with captain Harmanpreet scoring from the penalty spot earned by Mandeep as the home side trailed 2-3 at the end of the third quarter.

India were down to 10 men towards the end of third quarter after Sumit was shown the yellow card (10 minutes out of play). New Zealand pressed hard and earned a couple of penalty corners but India survived, though trailing by one goal.

India played the first seven minutes of the final quarter with 10 men but after that they scored two goals — both from Mandeep — to win the match. First, Mandeep scored in the 51st minute to restore parity and five minutes later struck a powerful shot into the bottom corner of New Zealand goal to seal the issue.

Mohammed Raheel made his India debut in the match.

India now play Spain on Sunday here.

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