India, who won the Olympic bronze medal, defeated South Africa 3-2 in a hard-fought match to go to the Commonwealth Games men’s hockey final on Saturday in Birmingham.
India’s goals came from Abhishek (20th minute), Mandeep Singh (28th minute), and Jugraj Singh (58th minute), whereas South Africa’s goals came from Ryan Julius (33rd minute) and Mustapha Cassiem (59th).
According to form and rankings, it was predicted that India would win easily, but Gowan Jones of South Africa, who kept the ball under the bar, prevented that from happening.
The Indians’ win margin might have been considerably higher if not for Jones’ outstanding performance.
The opening two quarters saw the Indians control possession after going on the attack right away.
India had numerous circle penetrations and scoring opportunities in the opening period, but Jones, who was blocking the goal like a rock, prevented them from scoring.
In order to keep his team in the game, he prevented India’s star drag flicker Harmanpreet Singh from converting up to four penalty corners in the first half.
It was fascinating to witness Jones’ anticipation and reflexes as he made save after save.
Jones was strong in front of the net from open play as well as penalty corners, blocking Shamsher Singh’s close-range attempt in the 10th minute after Akashdeep Singh had set him up.
Jones then made another incredible reflex save to stop Akashdeep in his tracks.
South Africa appeared to have found its groove in the second quarter when they won three consecutive penalty corners, but India’s backup goaltender Krishan Bahadur Pathak stood up to the challenge.