At Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday, India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan by a score of 4-0 to go to the semifinals of the Asian Champions Trophy hockey competition unblemished.
The final goal for India was scored by Akashdeep Singh from a field play in the 55th minute of the contest. Caption Jugraj Singh scored from a different set piece in the 36th minute, while Harmanpreet Singh scored twice from penalty corners (15th, 23rd).
India currently leads the rankings with 13 points after four victories and one tie, while Pakistan was eliminated from the competition despite ending on the same five points as Korea and Japan. For Pakistan to advance to the semifinals, at least a draw or a loss by one goal was required.
Now, Malaysia will square off against Korea on Friday, while India will play with Japan in the semifinal. Both India and Pakistan attacked aggressively to start the game. Pakistan displayed the early signs of sparks by repeatedly entering the Indian circle. However, the Indian defense did not permit any penetrations.
Pakistan was the first to receive a penalty corner, which Indian goalkeeper Krishan Bahadur Pathak superbly turned aside. In the ninth minute of play, Pakistan submitted a plea for a penalty corner after Karthi Selvam, Jarmanpreet Singh, and Mandeep Singh made three attacking attempts that the video referee disallowed.
India’s Selvam launched a lone attack inside the Pakistani box in the 13th minute, but Pakistani goalkeeper Akmal Hussain stopped him.
Just before the first quarter was through, India was awarded a penalty corner. To give India the lead, Harmanpreet flicked it with a strong low flick to the left of Pakistan goalie Akmal. Pakistan nearly tied the game in the 21st minute, but Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh raced out to stop the visitors.
In the 23rd minute, India earned their second penalty corner, and Harmanpreet doubled the advantage with a brilliant drag-flick goal through Akmal’s legs for Pakistan. At the break, India was up 2-0 on Pakistan.
India kept up its momentum and scored in the 41st minute when Harmanpreet flashed the ball in while it was deflected by a Pakistani stick. But after a video referral for a hazardous ball, the goal was reversed.
With an open goal in front of him, Akashdeep had a chance to give the Indians another opportunity as Selvam passed the ball to him comfortably within the box. In the 43rd minute, Pakistan was awarded a rare penalty corner but squandered the chance.
When Akashdeep deflected Mandeep Singh’s shot in the 55th minute, India increased their lead to 4-0. In the game, India was awarded five penalty corners, and they scored on three of them. Fourth goal for India was scored by Akashdeep.