Keeping their winning hopes alive in FIH Men’s Series Finals at Bhubaneswar, Indian tigers clinched their back-to-back third win in the tournament on June 10th at Kalinga Stadium. In their third FIH encounter against Uzbekistan, Graham Reid’s men sealed the match with 10-0 win in order to book their spot at semifinals.
Men in blues opened their account against Uzbekistan at 4th minute with the help of brilliant drag-flicker Varun Kumar. It then the turn of the forward Akashdeep Singh who doubled the lead for India at the 11th minute. This was followed by another goal through amazing defender Amit Rohidas who fired the goal at the 15th minute of the game. The fourth goal came to India’s account when talented defender Varun Kumar stroke another hit for his side at the 22nd minute. Just after few minutes of the fourth goal, forward player Akashdeep Singh sounded the scoreboard for India with a 5-0 lead at the 26th minute and after one-minute mid-fielder, Nilakanta included himself at India’s tally. The seventh goal was smashed with the assistance of explosive forward player Mandeep Singh at 30th minute. The winning-streak was later followed by another front-liner Gursahibjit Singh who marked the goal at the 45th minute. Taking his personal tally to next level, Akashdeep fired the hat-trick in the game at the 53rd minute which gave the 9-0 lead to India. The tenth and the last goal of the game netted by Mandeep Singh at 60th minute after which match-ending whistle blew and India entered into semi-finals.
The incredible skipper of Indian Men’s Hockey Team, Manpreet Singh said on the successful 10-0 win of India after the match, “it was really important for us to finish at the top of the pool because now we can rest for one match and prepare for the semi-finals”. He also added, “We did many good things during this pool phase but still, there is some improvement needed”.
Pool A’s top-rankers India and Pool B’s champions USA both have qualified for semi-finals. While Japan will take on Poland in cross-overs on June 12th and Russia will face the South Africam squad on the same day. Uzbekistan and Mexico will next fight for seventh place in the overall standings.