London, 17 June 2017: India came up with a clinical all-round performance to beat Canada 3-0 in their second match here at the Hero Hockey World League Semi-Final on Saturday. Goals by SV Sunil (5′), Akashdeep Singh (10′) and Sardar Singh (18′) helped India register their second successive win in Pool B and top the table.
Riding high on their strong opening match victory, India got off to a rollicking start displaying brilliant counter-attacking skills. The effort resulted in winning a penalty corner in the opening minute of the match. It was forward SV Sunil at the baseline who found the foot of Canadian defender but the chance went amiss with Harmanpreet Singh’s powerful flick going above the post. The forwards, however, were impeccable as they kept up the pace to find gaps in the Canadian circle. It was Sunil who found an early breakthrough in the 5th minute when he fired across from the baseline to put the ball in the post. The 1-0 lead was doubled in the 10th minute with Akashdeep Singh who timed his run perfectly to receive from Ramandeep Singh from the top of the circle to deflect the ball past Canadian keeper David Carter. India went into the first break with a solid 2-0 lead.
India continued to put pressure on Canada with their third goal in the 18th minute to take a formidable 3-0 lead. It was Ramandeep Singh on the counter attack who accelerated towards the circle to push the ball towards Sardar Singh who had doubled up as a forward. The celebrated midfielder was effortless in nicking the ball into the post leaving no chance for Carter to save. Even as Canada struggled to find an opportunity to score, Indian defenders were up to the task to keep them at bay.
The third quarter saw India keep up the tempo with an all-round performance. They were calm in their pursuit, rotating the ball with disciplined passes and good man-to-man marking that helped defend their score. Vikas Dahiya, who substituted Akash Chikte at the goalpost after half time, made two good saves when Canada came close to having a real good shot on goal. India won two back-to-back PCs this quarter but Canadian defence was strong enough to keep the dangerous dragflicker Harmanpreet Singh from converting. The quarter ended with no changes to the score-line.
India started the fourth quarter with just nine players with both captain Manpreet Singh and his deputy Chinglensana Singh sitting out with a green and yellow card respectively. But that didn’t dent India’s chances as they contained Canada from taking advantage. Canada won their second PC with less than two minute for the final hooter but a great stop by Surender Kumar denied Canada from converting and India walked away with the winning points yet again. “We played well in first two quarter but were a bit unlucky to convert chances in the third and fourth quarter, credit must go to the Canadian goalkeeper for coming up with good saves. Overall I am pleased with the performance,” expressed Chief Coach Roelant Oltmans post the match.
“We want to give our best against Pakistan. Cricket also playing Champions Trophy final and we are confident that India will win in Cricket as well as in Hockey,” stated skipper Manpreet Singh about their next match against Pakistan.
India will play Pakistan in their third Pool B match on June 18 at 18.30 hours IST.
Please find attached action pictures, schedule and pool standings of the Hero Hockey World League Semi Final.
For live score updates, please follow http://www.fih.ch/events/match-center
Matches will be shown live on Star Sports 2 & Star Sports HD 2 as well as live streamed on Hotstar.com