India smash Pakistan 4-0 to reach final of Asia Cup Hockey

The Asian champions automatically qualify for the 2018 Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India.

The third quarter finally saw India penetrate Pakistan's circle as their team-work led to a great goal in the 39th minute when forward Satbir Singh made a darting run on the right flank and passed the ball towards the Pakistan goal which made its way inside the goal as the Pakistani defence failed to intercept it. India progressed to the final following a thumping 4-0 win over arch-rivals Pakistan in their final second-round clash.

Both teams came into the final less than 18 hours after having played their last Super 4s matches, hence some sloppy performances were expected due to fatigue, but both teams proved that notion wrong by playing attractive hockey which enthralled some 5,000 spectators.

After a 1-1 draw against Korea in their first Super 4s match, India came back roaring against Malaysia and trounced them 6-2. India were off to a flyer as SV Sunil and Ramandeep Singh combined to give India an early lead in the third minute.

The Indian midfield have been held well by skipper Manpreet Singh and Chinglensana Singh, while veteran Sardar Singh has done exceedingly well as the central defender and the linkman between the midfield and the forwards.

India on the other hand, had opportunities of their own in the latter part of the third quarter but could not produce a third goal to seal the deal. Shahril Saabah scored the lone goal for Malaysia in the final.

India, however, doubled the lead on the half-hour mark when Akashdeep played on Sumit on the left side and the winger unlashed a fierce hit for Latit, who pushed it into the back of the board. He added the victory was possible because of the team work they put in.

Meanwhile, Coach Sjoerd Marijne said, "I was a bit anxious when the score was 2-1, odd goals can happen in last four to five minutes".

The Malaysian team coach, Stephen van Huizen, said, "India is a tough opponent ranked much higher than us".

India, with this Asia Cup win, have justified their favourites tag.

  • Jacqueline Ellis