London: 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-finals, in London 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).
The 7-1 win was also India’s biggest over Pakistan, bettering the 7-4 effort against arch-rivals in 2003 Champions Trophy and 2010 Commonwealth Games. 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 on Monday.
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.