India thrashed arch-rivals Pakistan 7-1 in the Hockey World League Semi-Final 2017 to earn their third straight win in the tournament on Sunday. With the win, India maintain their top spot in Group B (nine points from three wins) while Pakistan remain sixth with no points. This win has ensured India a quarter-final berth in the tournament though they still have to play The Netherlands on Tuesday. Pakistan will play Scotland on Monday. Earlier, India had defeated Scotland 4-1 and Canada 3-0 and Sunday’s win ensured their unbeaten run in the tournament.
It was a complete performance by the Indians who dominated their arch-rivals throughout the match to post a facile win.
Dragflicker Harmanpreet Singh (13th minute, 33rd), Talwinder Singh (21st, 24th), Akashdeep Singh (47th, 59th) and Pradeep Mor (49th) scored for India at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, while Pakistan’s consolation goal came from the stick of Muhammad Umar Bhutta (57th).
Contrary to the result, it was Pakistan who made a bright start but their domination lasted only the first 10 minutes. Pakistan had the first shot at the goal when they earned a penalty corner but the effort sailed over the bar. As the match progressed, India started to control the proceedings with Pakistan playing a catch-up game.
Harmanpreet gave India the lead in the 13th minute, converting a penalty corner with a low grounded flick. India secured another penalty corner four minutes into the second quarter but Harmanpreet’s flick was saved by Amjad Ali in front of Pakistan goal.
Talwinder doubled India’s lead soon after combining well with Satbir Singh and SV Sunil. Minutes later, Talwinder scored his second goal of the day when he neatly lifted over Amjad a high ball from Satbir and India went into the breather with a comfortable 3-0 cushion.
India continued in the same vein after the change of ends and three minutes into the second half Harmanpreet scored from another set piece to extend the lead.
In between Pakistan had their share of chances but they failed to get past an alert Akash Chikte in front of Indian goal.
After Chinglensana Singh was brilliantly denied by Pakistan goalkeeper Amjad Ali, Akashdeep scored a brilliant field goal from the top of the circle after fine one-two with Sardar Singh. Two minutes later, Pradeep Mor drilled home from a tight angle to beat Amjad Ali at the post.
Umar Bhutta scored a consolation goal late into the match but Akashdeep restored India’s victory margin with yet another fantastic strike just a minute from the hooter.
(With PTI inputs)