Hockey: India maul Pak 7-1
A clinical India demolished a hapless Pakistan 7-1 to register their third consecutive victory and seal a place in the quarter-finals of the Hockey World League Semi-Final, here on Sunday.
It was a complete performance by the Indians who dominated their arch-rivals throughout the match to post a facile win and zoom to the top of Pool B ahead of The Netherlands.
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).
India are atop Pool B with three wins from as many games, just ahead of The Netherlands, who are placed second.
Pakistan, on the other hand, are at the bottom of the pool after losing all three matches they have played so far.
India will next play The Netherlands on Tuesday, while Pakistan will face Scotland tomorrow.
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
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.
India hockey team wore black arm bands during the match to condole the deaths of martyrs in the recent attacks on the Indian army.
The Indian team support staff also wore the black arm bands.
The hockey fraternity in India has always been vocal about the pride and respect it has for the Indian soldiers and always condemned such barbaric acts.
The players have often taken to social media to show their condolences for the martyrs of the country. In fact, PR Sreejesh had dedicated the team's victory at the 2016 Asian Champions Trophy to the soldiers, where they beat Pakistan in the final.
"The players of the Indian hockey teams have always shown tremendous belief and support for the Indian Armed Forces who guard the safety of our nation. They are proud of the nation's soldiers and are often inspired by their dedication and sacrifice," said Mohd Mustaque Ahmad, Secretary General, Hockey India.
"As sportsmen, the Indian hockey teams have always shown solidarity and compassion towards the soldiers and have often dedicated their victories to the Indian Army. Today, the team strongly felt the need to condole the recent attacks carried out in Jammu & Kashmir where Indian soldiers lost their lives.