KARACHI: India defeated Pakistan 7-1 in their match of Hockey World League Semifinal Round at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Sunday.
It was Pakistan’s third successive big defeat in the tournament, which doubles up as the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup. It was India’s biggest-ever win over Pakistan.
India gave a wonderful demonstration of structured hockey in front of a full house. Their attacks were well orchestrated and finishing was excellent. India converted two of their four penalty corners; Pakistan none out of five.
The first quarter did not give any indication of things to come. The most evenly fought 15 minutes of the match had both the sides earning one penalty corner. Aleem Bilal’s flick went very high above the bar. Harmanpreet Singh’s flat, fast and angular push beat goalkeeper Amjad.
The two teams had a PC in the first five minutes of the second quarter as well but failed to strike.
In the 23rd minute, India extended the advantage with an excellent quick passing move capped by Talwinder.
After Pakistan wasted two chances in quick succession, Talwinder scored his second of the day. A left side move resulted in a high ball in the circle which was well tapped in by Talwinder with the stick held above the head.
India persisted with their offensive play and Ramandeep’s two successive shots were well saved by Amjad.
Within three minutes of resumption, Harmanpreet again converted a PC, this time via a forceful high flick on the left side of the net.
Then Pakistan had two PCs. On the first, Abu Bakr’s good high push was well palmed away by the custodian Chikte.
Off the next, Abu Bakr attempted a carpet push which was again saved by the stick of the diving Chikte.
In the 47th minute, Akshdeep, picking a little pass outside the circle, sprinted into the area and rattled the net from the top of the circle for his team’s fifth goal.
Hardly two minutes had passed when India’s next goal arrived. A left side attack resulted in Pardeep Mor receiving the ball on the right side of the circle. With time and space at his disposal, Mor found the target with a forceful hit and it was a tennis score now.
Aleem Bilal made a hash of Pakistan’s fifth PC with a feeble push. However, Tasawwar Abbas’ wonderful ball found Bhutta unmarked in the middle of the circle who sounded the board for Pakistan’s first goal of the tournament.
Indians were not finished yet. With less than two minutes left, Akashdeep from a difficult angle at the right side of the circle thundered the far net with a superb hit. Pakistan need to defeat Scotland in the last pool match to qualify for the quarter-finals.