Hockey Asia Cup: Six different scorers as India thrash Myanmar

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Dhaka: India moved one step closer to the final after hammering an in-form Malaysia 6-2 in their second game of the Super 4 Stage of the Hockey Asia Cup in Dhaka on Thursday. The win also propelled the two time champions to top of the standings with four points from two matches. Akashdeep Singh (15th minute), Harmanpreet Singh (19th), SK Uthappa (24th), Gurjant Singh (33rd), SV Sunil (40th) and Sardar Singh (60th) all scored, as India scripted a scintillating performance against the tournament favourites.

Coming into the match on the back of a disappointing 1-1 draw against South Korea, India needed a win to remain in the contention and the ‘Men in Blue’ replied in style going ahead in only the 15th minute of the match when Manpreet found Akashdeep with a wonderful long pass and the striker made no mistake, placing it well wide of the goalkeeper’s full stretched hands.

If the first quarter was all about keeping more possession, the second quarter was about dominance as the ‘Blue Tigers’ scored two more goals to increase the lead to a respectable score. Harmanpreet Singh scored a second from a penalty corner in the 19th minute before SK Utthapa added a third after a fine one-two with Sunil as India went into the half time break with a 3 goal cushion.

It was the same in the third quarter as India maintained possession often outshining Malaysia in midfield. The 33rd minute saw Akashdeep make a fine run before passing it to the hero of the last match Gurjant who made a simple tap-in to make it 4-0. It was Gurjant next as he made a great solo run in the left channel before a trademark reverse pass to Sunil, who dived in full to score India’s fifth. The match was all but over when Malaysia replied back with two goals helped by some comedy defending by the Indians.

Razie Rahim put one back in the 50th minute past Indian goalie Akash Chikte, before Ramadan Rosli scored another consolation goal in the 59th minute. However, the ‘Blue Tigers’ extended their lead in the last minute of the match when former captain Sardar put the final nail in the coffin as India won the Match 6-2.

The two time champions will now take on arch-rivals Pakistan whom they had earlier beaten 3-1 in the group games, in their final Super 4 Stage match. The top two teams go into the finals while the next two battle in a third place play-off.

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