Sandeep Singh's double helps India to Crush Pakistan
Holi revelry broke out a day in advance as India outplayed arch-rivals Pakistan 4-1 in their Hockey World Cup opener here Sunday. The ace drag- flicker Sandeep singh struck twice in the 35th and 57th minute to enable India win its opening thriller. This win also enable India to avenge a 3-6 Champions Challenge defeat to the subcontinental rivals in Salta, Argentina, in December. But today Indians know that it is a different day and it is going to be a different ball game altogether playing at home. Right from start of the game India has dominated the field. By the half time India has taken inaccessible lead of 2-0 and then heaping two more goals in the second session to begin their cup campaign with a bang. With this Captain Rajpal Singh’s boys has now silenced the critics allegation that India is weak in converting penalty corners to goals. Today India has got its 2 of its goal from 5 penalty corners while Pakistan got just one from same number of corners. Both teams took a measure of each other before India raided the Pakistan defense repeatedly, outpacing the tourists. The hosts also defended well and marked the ace Pakistani strike Rehan Butt, to restrict his movement.
India earned other goals through Shivendra Singh (27th minute) and Prabhjot Singh (37th minute). Though host were missing their first choice goalkeeper Adrian D’souza, who has been replaced by PR Sreejesh but they showed that they still have enough capability to spoil Pakistan captain, Zeeshan Ashraf birthday celebration party.
Earlier third match of opening day started amidst of a very heavy security . It was house full stadium. Even during the course the match never lacked in tempo and had full house of the crowd to cheer.
Pakistan has been a slow starter in the first half. But then in second half it displayed some urgency in its game as it tried to dominate the game, but could not break the solid Indian defense. Sohail Abbas scored from a penalty-corner 11 minutes from time to reduce the margin for Pakistan but it was never enough. He was also bit unlucky as his two of flicks finds crossbar coming in the way.
Finally in the final few minutes of the match witness Pakistan giving its all, and India defending its lead splendidly, and with it was India which emerged victorious after the final hooter was blown. India will now face mighty Australia on 2nd of March.