A DOMINANT INDIAN Men’s Hockey team played like Champions to beat Pakistan 7-1 in a one-sided match here at the Hero Hockey World League Semi-Final. Goals by Harmanpreet Singh (13’, 33’), Talwinder Singh (21’, 24’), Akashdeep Singh (47’, 59’) and Pardeep Mor (49’) ensured India toppled The Netherlands to lead the points table with their third successive win.
With two back-to-back defeats against The Netherlands (0-4) and Canada (0-6), Pakistan were desperate for a win against India to advance in the League. They did get off the blocks with their first real opportunity coming within three minutes of the match when Ajaz Ahmad drifted away just a little bit from his man Pardeep Mor to take a shot on goal. But he was wide off the mark. India won the first PC of the match soon after when a Pakistani defender fouled in the circle. A good dragflick by Harmanpreet Singh was well defended by Pakistan’s first runner to deny an early lead.
There was plenty of entertainment in the first 15 minutes with Pakistan successfully appealing through a video referral for their first PC in the 11th minute. But couldn’t make it count with Aleem Bilal Muhammad flicking the ball above the cross bar.
India though fetched a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute when Pardeep Mor won the team a second chance at PC and India’s dragflick sensation Harmanpreet Singh was impeccable with his effort, kept the ball low to beat the goalkeeper.
Both teams traded PCs in the second quarter with Pakistan winning a PC in the opening minute of the quarter while India earned a PC in the 18th minute but both teams could not convert the chance. While Pakistan’s dragflicker Bilal was way off the mark yet again, India’s Harmanpreet’s flick was padded away by Pakistani keeper Amjad Ali.
Meanwhile, Indian forwards kept up the pressure with a strong attack that ensured India doubled the lead in the 21st minute. It was tactical brilliance by Mandeep Singh who passed to Satbir Singh from the top of the circle who then flicked it to Sunil who nicked it to Talwinder who deflected the ball into the post – all in rapid pace leaving Pakistani defenders dumbstruck. Talwinder struck his second goal of the match in the 24th minute when Satbir Singh set him up for a spectacular goal taking India’s lead to a formidable 3-0.
India continued to play like Champions in the third quarter giving no room for Pakistan to comeback into the game. Harmanpreet Singh enthralled the Indian fans who had turned up in full strength with India’s fourth goal in the 33rd minute. It was his trademark attempt shooting the ball to the top right corner of the post giving no chance for Pakistan goalkeeper Amjad Ali to stop it. Though Pakistan came up with good attack, India’s defence was rock solid with the goalkeepers putting up a strong performance.
The fourth quarter dented Pakistan’s hopes further with Akashdeep pumping another goal into Pakistan’s goal post in the 47th minute taking India’s lead to a winning 5-0. The flurry of goals didn’t stop at that for India with Pardeep Mor scoring a splendid goal in the 49th minute to take India’s score to 6-0. Pakistan saved the blushes with a consolation goal in the 57th minute by Umar Bhutta Muhammad. India’s goal fest continued with Akashdeep taking India’s score to 7-1 in the 59th minute to walk away with the winning points.
India will play The Netherlands in their fourth Pool B match on June 20 at 18.30 hours IST.
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