Ipoh (Malaysia): A clinical performance by the Indian Men’s Hockey Team saw them beat Poland 10-0 in their last Round-Robin League match here at the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019 on Friday.
The Manpreet Singh-led squad will take on Korea in the Final on Saturday.
Against Poland, Vivek Sagar Prasad (1′), Sumit Kumar (Junior) (7′), Varun Kumar (18′, 25′), Surender Kumar (19′), Simranjeet Singh (29′), Nilakanta Sharma (36′), Mandeep Singh (50′, 51′) and Amit Rohidas (55′) scored to ensure India remained unbeaten.
Mandeep Singh with his contribution to India’s scoreline became the highest goal-scorer for the tournament with a total of seven goals while Varun Kumar took his personal tally to five goals in the tournament so far.
The 2-0 lead India earned early in the match through the 1st-minute goal by Vivek Sagar Prasad and Sumit Kumar’s (Junior) 7th-minute goal which was well-assisted by forwarding Mandeep Singh’s backhand pass in the circle gave India the edge. The team controlled the proceedings with a structured game executing their plans to perfection.
The second quarter saw India strengthen their attack as they made space inside the striking circle. In good form, Sumit Kumar (Junior) earned a PC for India which was perfectly converted by drag-flicker Varun Kumar. The following minute saw Surender Kumar score off a PC created by Amit Rohidas.
Though India had lost forward Shilanand Lakra to a green card in the 24th minute, the team created a PC and in a re-take resulted in Varun Kumar scoring off a direct, powerful flick to take India’s lead to a strong 5-0.
Simranjeet Singh added to the team’s lead when he worked with Mandeep Singh after receiving a beautiful assist from Nilakanta Sharma to put the ball past Polish goalkeeper Mateusz Popiolkowski.
With a formidable 6-0 lead at half-time, India continued to dominate with their midfielders playing responsibly, shifting the ball swiftly and fiercely to make space. In the 36th minute, a good pass by Sumit to Nilakanta Sharma helped him score. Though India managed only one goal in the third quarter, the team made a strong finish with superior attack in the fourth quarter that fetched the team three more goals.
The Polish goalkeeper meanwhile was impressive as he made some brilliant saves off shots taken by Gursahibjit Singh and Simranjeet Singh early in the fourth quarter.
A powerfully struck PC by Amit Rohidas too was well-saved by Popiolkowski. India’s eighth and ninth goal came off skilful displays by Mandeep Singh. His first goal was scored after he intercepted Michal Raciniewski to take a direct shot on goal while his second goal was well-assisted by Gurinder Singh. India’s tenth goal was scored after Surender Kumar earned a PC with Amit making a good conversion.