India looked a force to reckon with coming into this game after their 3-1 win against Canada on Sunday. On the other hand, Pakistan had just one win in the tournament before this high-octane clash. Let’s have a look how the match between the two-arch rivals unfolded.
As the adjudicator’s whistle set the wheels in motion, fans on either side of the border braced for yet another riveting contest. They didn’t have to wait long as it was the Indian side who set the scoreboard ticking in the 4th minute through a Manpreet Singh scorcher into the bottom-corner.
It was SV Sunil with a beautiful forward run to find Manpreet on the far left, who made no mistake in driving it past Imran Butt at the Pakistan goal.
It wasn’t long before Pakistan fetched back-to-back penalty corners and levelled the scores in the 7th minute, skipper Muhammad Irfan leading from the front to make it 1-1 with a 104 km/hr drag-flick.
Next strike came in the 10th minute, Sunil and Manpreet combining once again with the former, this time, tapping home from the halfback’s assist to close the first quarter 2-1 for India.
Neither side could find a breakthrough in the second quarter as the action swung from end to end. In the 18th minute, a save by Butt off Rupinder’s shot stood out as the pick of the lot as we reached the halfway mark at 2-1 for India.
The two sides were evenly poised in the third quarter until it was Nikkin Thimmaiah’s genius, back-flicking the ball from between his feet across the face of the goal for vice-captain Sunil to give India a two-goal cushion with a diving finish.
As the 4th quarter got underway, India established their authority over a forlorn Pakistani side with unstinted battering. Talwinder Singh made it 4-1 in the 50th minute with his 2nd of the tournament, succeeded by Rupinder’s drive into the top-corner in the 54th minute to take the scoreline to an unassailable 5-1 in favour of India.
In the final minutes, Ramandeep had a goal disallowed and Rupinder hit the stroke straight at the Pakistani goalkeeper thus failing to make it 6-1 for India. Nevertheless, it was a superb display of attacking hockey as the Indians avenged earlier defeats by finishing off a whopping 5-1 rout of Pakistan.
This win keeps India in contention for a medal in the tournament.