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Commonwealth Games 2014: India stun New Zealand, face Australia in hockey final


India's players celebrate the goal of Chandanda Nikkin, second left, during their men's semifinal hockey match against New Zealand in the Commonwealth Games 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. Photo - AP/PTI

Glasgow: India will face Australia in a repeat of the Commonwealth Games men's hockey final from four years ago in Delhi after producing a stunning comeback from 2-0 down to beat New Zealand 3-2 on Saturday.

Earlier, Australia had secured their place in a fifth successive Games final with a 4-1 rout over England.

New Zealand had won all four of their matches in the pool stages and looked well on course for the final thanks to early goals from Simon Chile and Nick Haig.

However, India rallied just before half-time with a penalty stroke being awarded when the ball had been illegally blocked on the New Zealand line from a penalty corner and captain for the day Rupindeer Singh slotted home.

And the game was turned on its head during a five minute spell early in the second-half as Ramandeep Singh skillfully flicked home a low cross before Akashdeep Singh blasted high into the roof of the net to give India a deserved victory.

"I think we did really well in the second half. We changed the game and created more opportunities to score even without having too many penalty corners. We were more dominant as a team," said India's Australian coach Terry Walsh.

And Walsh is confident his men can beat his compatriots on Sunday despite having already lost to the world and Commonwealth champions 4-2 during the group stages in Glasgow.

"It's going to be a lot more intense. We will pressure all around the field and go forward with Indian-style skills."

In the pouring morning rain it was England who were caught cold after just two minutes as Tristan White gave Australia the perfect start from a penalty corner before Simon Orchard doubled their lead just eight minutes later.

"We expected a very tough game against a very strong opponent, but our boys did really well today," said Australia coach Graham Reid.

"Scoring a goal with two minutes gone in the match is something we dream about. We always try to create opportunities for to make that happen."

Harry Martin briefly gave England hope when he bundled home from close range on 52 minutes to half the deficit.

However, England never looked like levelling and Australia rounded off their victory with two more goals in the final 10 minutes as Chris Ciriello fired a penalty corner low into the net before Eddie
Ockenden had the simple task of finishing into an open goal.

"We're very disappointed. We thought we could win but we weren't quite there today," said England coach Bobby Crutchley.

"We didn't create a lot and they made it quite difficult for us."

England do, though, at least have the chance to secure a medal in the bronze medal match on Sunday.
"We don't want to leave here with nothing," added Crutchley. "We want that bronze medal tomorrow."

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