Hockey Asia Cup: Dominant India rout Pakistan
(Image credit-Twitter/Hockey India).
Dhaka: The Indian hockey team continued their dominance in the Asia Cup as they reached the final of the event thrashing arch-rivals Pakistan 4-0 at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium in Dhaka on Saturday. Goals from Satbir Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Lalit Upadhyay and Gurjant Singh were enough to seal the match for the ‘men in Blue’, who qualified for the final for a record seventh time.
Needing just a draw to seal a place in the summit clash on Sunday, team India maintained their unbeaten run in the tournament with another dominant win, courtesy the four second-half goals to qualify for the finals as a topper with seven points from four matches in the Super 4 Stage. The win was also their fourth, over their arch-rivals this year, having beaten them twice earlier in the Hockey World League semi-finals in London and once in the pool stages in Asia Cup.
Pakistan meanwhile are knocked out of the tournament following the loss, while India play the winner of the Korea vs Malaysia in the final match.
The match however started on a different note for the Indians as the two time champions lacked pace, while Pakistan dominated the first two quarters, keeping more possession and looking more threatening on attacks. The 2009 runners-up even earned three penalty corners but failed to count on the chances.
The ‘Green Shirts’ will rue their missed chances as India changed gears in the second half, attacking in numbers and almost went ahead twice in the first few minutes but Pak custodian Amjad Ali was well up to the task. The 39th minute saw India take the lead through Satbir who tuned in a fine shot from a Lalit back pass. The ‘Blue Tigers’ could have scored more but Amjad Ali kept Pakistan alive with a series of fine saves including three penalty corners.
Indians went all out in the final quarter and duly scored three more goals in the final nine minutes, with Harmanpreet Singh scoring his seventh goal of the tournament from India’s sixth penalty corner in the 51st minute. Lalit soon made it 3-0 in the next minute after pouncing on to a loose ball in the opposition D. Gurjant Singh who has been breathing fire in the last couple of matches added the final nail in the coffin, three minutes before the final whistle to send the three time champions crushing out of the tournament.