Coming into the match, India had three points from two games as opposed to Canada's four from three in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. As the starting whistle got the match underway, the Indians looked in much better nick than their previous two outings here, at Ipoh.
A couple of rest-days between matches had certainly done them a world of good which was all the more obvious when they struck as early as the 3rd minute.
An exquisite long pass from Rupinder onto Ramandeep’s stick led to the forward combining with his counterpart Nikkin Thimmaiah who made no mistake in driving the ball past a defeated Carter in the Canadian goal. Three minutes later, it was Thimmaiah again as his deft flick from inside the circle missed the near post by inches.
The 2nd quarter saw the Canadians raising their game to execute a flurry of onslaughts on the Indian goal. Keegan Pereira eventually made it 1-1 from a counter-attack that followed a brilliant piece of solo play by Mandeep Singh whose pass found no takers at the far post, in the 23rd minute.
Custodian Harjot’s heroics, however, ensured that India escaped several lapses in defence to keep the scoreline tied 1-1 at half-time.
India regained their shape in the third quarter, looking much more convincing in possession. In the 41st minute, Harmanpreet fired home from a penalty corner, his second in this tournament, which put India back in the driver’s seat.
In the final quarter, India dominated the field left, right and center as the red shirts barely managed to get a hold of the ball. Sardara missed a 49th minute sitter when he ran clear in the final third with only the goalie to beat. 22 year-old Talwinder Singh, then, sealed the victory in the 57th minute, capitalizing on a dismal clearance by the Canadian defence to close the game 3-1.
Coach Roelant Oltmans would definitely be very pleased with such an encouraging display by the Men in Blue on the field today after their lackluster start in the silver jubilee edition of the tournament. India now occupy the third position on the league table.
Earlier, there were notable movements in the table with Australia positioning themselves comfortably at the top by virtue of a 4-0 hammering of Pakistan, who face India next, on Tuesday.