Johor Bahru (Malaysia), Sep 22 (IANS) India beat England 2-1 in a closely contested match at the U-21 3rd Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman daya Hockey stadium here Sunday.
England were the early aggressors and forced a penalty corner in the third minute which Indian keeper Harjot Singh easily saved.
Three minutes later India took the lead as Ramandeep Singh deflected a searching ball from Satbir Singh that hit England keeper Harry Jay Gibson on the helmet and went into goal.
India upped the ante and came close several times, and England failed to make a clean stop off their second penalty corner in the 18th minute.
But England defended stoutly, not giving much space to the speedy Indian forwards and at halftime it was India 1 England 0.
India forced three penalty corners early in the second half, 41st, 42nd and 45th minutes, but Amit Rohidas was woefully off target, hardly testing Gibson.
Roper came close with his penalty corner attempt in the 49th minute and the rebound fell to Brendan William, who however shot into the side netting.
India were not to be denied their second goal as Talwinder Singh picked up the loose ball and slotted into an empty goal after an attempt by Tirkey Amon Mirash was stopped by the keeper.
Manpreet then took to the field in the 53rd minute and India started dominating again.
England pulled a goal back in the 66th minute via Samuel Stanely French but ran out of time.
"We failed to capitalise on the chances we created but all credit to England who stayed in the game and gave us a tough time," said India coach Gregg Clark.
"It is a question of getting things right and this being our first match it was a decent performance as we really should have not been caught in possession as many times as we did.
"Still I am happy with the three points and a winning start is always welcomed. But we can improve," he added.