Powered by Harmanpreet Singh and Akashdeep Singh’s brace, the Indian men’s hockey team absolutely thrashed Canada 8-0 on Wednesday at the Commonwealth Games to go on top of Pool B.
Harmanpreet (7th, 54th minute) converted two penalty corners while Akashdeep Singh (38th, 60th) scored two fine field goals. Amit Rohidas (10th), Lalit Upadhyay (20th), Gurjant Singh (27th) and Mandeep Singh (58th) were the other goal scorers for India.
With the win, India jumped to the top of the pool ahead of England. The Indians play Wales in their final group match on Thursday.
The Indians recovered from the jolt of a 4-4 draw against England after leading 3-0 at one stage in their last match as they came out with more purpose and completely dominated Canada in the first two quarters.
India’s first scoring chance came in the fifth minute in the form of back-to-back penalty corners but Canada’s Balraj Panesar made a goal-line save to deny Harmanpreet from the second attempt.
But Harmanpreet was not to be denied much longer as she gave India the lead two minutes later with a powerful drag-flick from another set piece.
Three minutes later, defender Rohidas scored a brilliant field goal. He stormed into the circle with his silky stick work and slotted the ball home after receiving a defence-splitting long ball from Varun Kumar.
The Indians continued in the same vein in the second quarter and secured two quick penalty corners in the 19th minute, the second of which resulted in a goal.
Lalit slapped in a loose ball off a rebound after Varun Kumar’s flick was kept away by Canadian goalkeeper Ethan McTavish to hand India a 3-0 lead.
The Canadian custodian pulled off another fine save in the 24th minute to keep out Abhishek’s reverse shot from the top of the circle. McTavish made another fine save to deny Jugraj Singh from another penalty corner.
Seconds later, a diving Gurjant deflected Hardik Singh’s pass from the left flank to extend India’s lead.
Canada got a penalty corner in the 28th minute but failed to make use of it as India went into the halfway break with a comfortable 4-0 lead.
The Indians kept up the pressure after the change of ends and mounted attacks after attacks on the Canadian citadel.
In the 38th minute, Akashdeep scored with a slap shot after being set up by a fine one-touch play by skipper Manpreet Singh and Nilkanata Singh.
In the fourth and final quarter, McTavish made a double save from a penalty corner to deny Mandeep and Vivek Sagar Prasad.
Canada secured a penalty corner soon after, but India defended the chance.
In the final six minutes of the match, India fired three more goals which came from the sticks of Harmanpreet, Mandeep and Akashdeep.
The Indian women’s hockey team too, defeated Canada 3-2 to head into the semifinals. Lovepreet Singh, on the other hand, won a bronze medal in 109kg weightlifting event. Nitu and Hussamuddin too steamrolled their opponents to assure Indian of two more medals at the Commonwealth Games.
All in all, it has proved to be a great day out for the Indian contingent.