India crush Pakistan 10-2 in Asian Games 2023 hockey; score 46 goals in 4 matches
Captain Harmanpreet Singh scored four goals in what was India’s biggest win over the arch-rivals in hockey.
A scene from an India-Pakistan hockey match (ANI Photo)
INDIA continued their dominance in hockey at the ongoing Asian Games 2023 on Saturday (30) when they hammered arch-rivals and eight-time gold winners Pakistan 10-2 in a Pool A match to book a spot in the semi-finals with a match to go.
The win in hockey came on a field day for India at the Games as they won gold in squash, also beating Pakistan, and tennis. The south Asian nation won five medals during the day, taking their tally to 38 and was behind hosts China, Japan and South Korea.
Coming back to the hockey clash, Captain Harmanpreet Singh scored four goals as India went to script their biggest-ever victory over Pakistan who now have to beat Japan comprehensively in their final game to go through to the knock-out stage. Last month, Harmanpreet scored twice when India drubbed Pakistan 4-0 in the Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament at home.
Harmanpreet scored in the 11th, 17th, 33rd and 34th minutes of the game while Varun Kumar (41st and 54th) struck twice. Mandeep Singh (8th), Sumit (30th), Samsher Singh (46th) and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay (49th) were the other goal getters.
Pakistan’s two goals came from Muhammad Khan (38th) and Abdul Rana (45th) as India toyed with their opponents for large part of their penultimate pool match.
This was the 180th match between the two teams and the eight-goal margin win was the biggest-ever in the history of India-Pakistan hockey.
India’s earlier biggest victory margin was 7-1 against Pakistan registered in 2017.
Pakistan’s 7-1 win in the final of 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi was their biggest win against India.
India have scored 46 goals in their four matches played so far with 16-0 win over Uzbekistan, 16-1 against Singapore and 4-2 against defending champions Japan.
India will play Bangladesh in their final Pool A match on Monday (2).
India took early lead despite Pakistan’s threatening moves
India took the lead when Abhishek made a fine turn on the left side into the opponent’s striking circle and his pass was deflected into goal in the eighth minute by Mandeep.
Pakistan made some threatening moves and earned their first penalty corner in the 11th minute but India goalkeeper Krishan Bahadur Pathak was up to the task.
India doubled their lead in the 11 minute when they were awarded a penalty stroke and Harmanpreet made no mistake.
Harmanpreet scored his second goal and sixth of the tournament in the 17th minute by converting India’s first penalty corner of the match with an accurate drag-flick.
Pakistan attacked mostly from the left side but failed to get a clear shot at the Indian goal.
Pakistan earned their second penalty corner in the 28th minute but failed to get past veteran Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh.
Just seconds before half-time, Sumit struck with a fierce reverse hit. The Pakistanis went for a review but lost and trailed 0-4 at the halfway mark.
India made it 5-0 three minutes after the change of ends with Harmanpreet converting another penalty stroke after the ball hit a Pakistani player’s foot.
Initially, the referee gave a penalty corner but India successfully reviewed for a penalty stroke.
It turned into a rout for Pakistan as India earned three back-to-back penalty corners and Harmanpreet struck his fourth goal of the day with a fine drag flick.
Varun, Shamsher and Lalit too joined the party with field goals in the 41st, 46th and 49th minutes.
Varun found the net for the second time in the day when he converted a penalty corner six minutes from the final hooter.
(With PTI inputs)