ROURKELA: Skipper Harmanpreet Singh, Akashdeep and Shamsher Singh were among the goal scorers as India thrashed South Africa by 5-2 in their classification match for the 9-12th position in the ongoing FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup at Rourkela on Saturday. With this win, India finished at ninth position in the tournament and are tied with Argentina.
In the first quarter, India showed attacking gameplan and made early inroads into the South African penalty circle.
Nicholas Spooner of South Africa got a green card in the third minute. The home side got an early lead in the fourth minute after Abhishek collected a pass coming into the scoring circle and smashed it in the nets taking the scoreline to 1-0.
Nqobile Ntuli also got a green card in the seventh minute. After 10 minutes of the first quarter, India had penetrated SA’s circle four times while SA could penetrate India’s only twice. After winning a penalty corner in 11th minute, skipper Harmanpreet Singh also joined the scoresheet with a brilliant conversion. India had doubled their lead.
India made a save and denied South Africa a late chance at the end of first quarter, at the end of which scoreline read 2-0 in favour of India. The second quarter did not see any goals. India did earn a PC, but failed to capitalise on it. Despite that, the hosts kept playing attacking hockey.
South Africa also showed some improvement in their attacking game. They displayed more ball possession and circle penetration in the second quarter. At the end of the second quarter and the first half, India were leading the game by 2-0.
South Africa got their first penalty corner in 32nd minute. A yellow card was given to Amit Rohidas after he threw his gear after a PC was given to SA, which hit an opposition player. Following this, SA got another PC, which it could not convert.
Both India and SA tried to penetrate but could not score. India finally got a goal in the 45th minute. It was Shamsher Singh who scored the goal after Abhishek received an aerial pass, which he sent to Shamsher. Gowan tried to dive forward and intercept, but the Indian player managed to score. At the end of the third quarter, India were 3-0 in lead.
In the final quarter, Akashdeep scored a goal in the 49th minute. Jarmanpreet was stuck on touchline on the right side of the goal, he squared the pass and Akashdeep was able to get a touch. The scoreline was now 4-0 in favour of India. South Africa managed to open its goal count in the 49th minute itself. Samkelo Mvimbi received an aerial pass and sent it past the goalkeeper PR Sreejesh. The scoreline was now 1-4.
In the 51st minute, Sukhjeet was shown a yellow card and India were reduced to 10 men for the next five minutes. In the 59th minute of the match, Sukhjeet came back and gave support to Akashdeep, whose shot lacked power. Akashdeep found the ball at the front of the net and scored the fifth goal for India. Cassiem converted a PC in the final minute to make the final scoreline read 5-2 in favour of India. (ANI)