Hockey World League Final 2017: India Beat Belgium in Penalty Shootout to Enter Semifinals
New Delhi: India thrashed arch-rivals Pakistan 4-0 in the Asia Cup 2017 at Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium in Dhaka on Saturday to qualify for the tournament final for the seventh time. After a goalless first half, Satbir Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Lalit Upadhyay and Gurjant Singh scored one each to lead India to victory.
India needed just a draw to qualify, but they made sure of keeping their track record intact against Pakistan in 2017. The Men in Blue continued their domination over Pakistan and have now registered seven consecutive wins over their rival. India, who started as the match favourites, lived up to the expectations and produced an impressive show of attacking hockey.
The game lacked pace in the first quarter as India started on a defensive mode, while Pakistan were sloppy and failed to produce any real threat even after winning three penalty corners in the opening quarter.
India then shifted gear in the second quarter and put pressure on Pakistan with a few fast-paced raids. Ramandeep Singh even came close to scoring but his shot was blocked by Pakistan’s goalie Amjad. The Men in Blue once again came close to scoring when Harmanpreet was denied by the crossbar after India won their second penalty corner.
The second quarter also remained goalless and both the teams went into the second half without opening the scoring sheet.
It was Satbir who handed India an advantage in the third quarter. In the 39th minute, the 23-year-old midfielder took a solid shot from the penalty area to net the first goal for his side. Towards the end, the match completely turned in favour of India as captain Harmanpreet, Lalit and Gurjant netted goals in 51st, 52nd and 57th minute to decimate Pakistan.
With this victory, India have now entered the final of the continental tournament as the toppers of Super 4 with seven points. They had also topped Pool A before entering the Super 4 stage.