2018 Hockey WC: India cruise into quarter-final round

Bhubaneswar: Indian team cemented their spot in the quarter-final round of the ongoing Men’s Hockey World Cup after defeating Canada 5-1 in their last Pool C match here at the Kalinga Stadium on Saturday.

After Belgium secured a dominating 5-1 victory over South Africa in the first Pool C match of the day, India needed to win their clash against Canada with a margin of two goals to avoid competing in the crossovers. With the 5-1 victory over Canada, India have also topped the Pool C followed by Belgium at number two.

The first move in the match was made by Canada as they penetrated into the Indian circle but the danger was managed easily by the host defenders. Both the teams fought an end-to-end battle in the first quarter denying each other the scoring opportunity. Ten minutes into the match, India got their first penalty corner. Canada, however, survived the scare as Indian striker Mandeep Singh failed to find a shooting space.

A couple of minutes later, India earned another penalty corner and this time they made no mistake as Harmanpreet Singh placed his drag flick into the bottom left corner to beat the outstretched foot of Canadian goalkeeper Antoni Kindler. The first quarter ended with India leading the match 1-0.

The Canadian side, making a comeback, battled hard in the second quarter and did not let India take the further lead in the match. All their resilience paid off in the 39th minute when they scored an equaliser against India. Deceiving the Indian attackers, the Canadian players managed to break through the midfield as their forward player Floris Von Son made a smashing hit to get past Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh.

Seeing the momentum shifting towards Canada, Indian players made some repeated attacks on the opposition goal post but Canadian goalkeeper Antoni Kindler showed quick reflexes to make some precious saves for his side.

In the 46th minute of the match, India gained the lead back when Chinglensana Singh smashed a goal after Kindler saved a shot from close range. In the very next minute, Lalit Kumar finished a close-range shot into a goal to make it 3-1 for India. The Canadian seemed helpless on the field as India scored two back to back goals in the next ten minutes to take an invincible 5-1 lead by the end of the fourth quarter.

Lalit Upadhyay was adjudged the Man of the Match for his game-turning two goals in the clash.