Field Hockey Canada > Canada falls to India in opening match of Junior World Cup

Canada falls to India in opening match of Junior World Cup

PHOTO: Rohan Chopra (right) chases the Indian ball carrier in Canada’s match against India on December 8 at the 2016 Junior World Cup in Lucknow, India (By Yan Huckendubler)

December 8, 2016 | Shaheed Devji |

The Canadian Under-21 Men’s National Team dropped its first game of the 2016 Junior World Cup by a score of 4-0 to the host Indians Thursday in Lucknow.

A late first half goal put India ahead, and the hosts added three more in the second half en route to the victory in both teams’ first match of the tournament.

Canada will face South Frica in its second pool-stage match on Saturday, December 1o (2:00pm local time; 1:30am Pacific, 4:30am Eastern).

Channeling the energy from the home crowd, which was out in full force and full voice on the first night of the tournament despite foggy and cool weather, India began with a majority of possession. But Canada, likely expecting an initial surge from the host team, weathered the storm quite well, not allowing India to earn a scoring attempt.

India continued to push for the first ten minutes, but Canada seemed confident its ability to hold them off.

In the 12th minute, however, the Indians picked up the first penalty corner of the match and the game’s first real scoring opportunity. The attempt, was turned away by a combined effort from first-runner Parmeet Gill who got a piece of the ball to take away some of its power, and goalkeeper Iqwinder Gill who turned it away once it reached goal.

Another corner was awarded to India immediately after and Gill made a strong save.

The keeper’s performance seemed to spark Canada as forward Rohan Chopra led a rush back in the other direction and made his way into the Indian circle with numbers. But Chopra’s pass in from was defended well and knocked away before a Canadian could get on the end of it for a shot.

As the first half went on, Canada began to hold more possession, evening out the flow of the match, but the Indians started to make more of their touches.

Gill was forced to stand tall and showed he was up to the challenge by charging out to make many aggressive saves in the circle.

The game looked to be headed to half-time scoreless, after India hit the post on a deflection in the 33rd minute. But in the final minute of the first half, a scramble in the Canadian circle resulted in the ball coming loose to Mandeep, one of India’s most dangerous players, and he quickly put a backhand on it beating Gill for the game’s first goal.

India added three more goals in the second half to go on to the 4-0 victory.

Canada will face South Africa – which also lost its first match by a score of 4-2 to England – on Saturday, December 10 at 2:00pm local time (1:30am Pacific/4:30am Eastern). Find complete streaming and coverage information here.