India Hammer Pakistan 5-1 in Azlan Shah to Climb to No. 2 on Leaderboard
(Photo Credit: Hockey India)
It was a spirited display by the Indian men's hockey team that showcased its skills in ample measure to school archrivals Pakistan on Tuesday, hammering them 5-1 in a league match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia.
SV Sunil led the scoring chart with two goals while midfielder Manpreet Singh, drag-flicker Rupinderpal Singh and striker Talwinder Singh scored one each to turn the screw on the Pakistanis.
Pakistan's only goal came from Muhammad Irfan, which was the sole moment of joy for them in an otherwise erratic display.
India's win took them to the second position on the points table, keeping them in the hunt for the final, while Pakistan slipped further down to No. 6 in the seven-team tournament.
What should please India the most is that four of their five goals came at the end of a field effort, highlighting better coordination between the strikers and also improved finishing.
Manpreet struck as early as the fourth minute of the match, converting from a tough angle. But his reverse hit found the mark after trapping the ball fed by Sunil.
Irfan didn't take long to draw Pakistan level with a penalty corner in the 7th minute, only to see Sunil putting India back ahead three minutes later. This time Manpreet returned the favour passing the ball to Sunil in the striking circle.
The game was played in an end-to-end fashion until half-time when India lead 2-1.
Sunil made it 3-1 in the 41st minute diving in to deflect in a superb one-touch pass from Nikkin Thimmaiah. Talwinder Singh then scored his second goal of the tournament to make it 4-1 ten minutes from the final whistle.
Rupinder joined the list of scorers in the 54th minute off a lethal drag-flick on India's second penalty corner of the match, but he would rue the penalty stroke he missed after Manpreet was pushed from behind in the D.
Another goal from Sunil was disallowed, which would have made the scoreline look even more dominating.
India next play New Zealand on Wednesday at 1:35 p.m. IST.