BREDA (NETHERLANDS), June 23: India once again reasserted their supremacy over Pakistan as they clinically decimated the arch-rivals 4-0 in the opening match of the Champions Trophy hockey tournament, here today.
Coming into the tournament on the back of a disastrous Commonwealth Games campaign at the Gold Coast, where they finished a disappointing fourth, the Indians scored four fantastic field goals to make intentions clear that they meant business here.
Ramandeep, who was dropped from the CWG squad, answered his critics in style finding the net in 26th minute before young Dilpreet Singh (54th), Mandeep Singh (57th) and Lalit Upadhayay (60th) too joined the scorers list.
India, eyeing its maiden Champions Trophy title, will play reigning Olympic champions Argentina in their next round-robin league match tomorrow.
The win also marked a positive start to India’s chief coach Harendra Singh’s fourth stint with the senior national side. Harendra took over the reigns of the team after swapping roles with Sjoerd Marijne, following India’s dreadful CWG campaign.
The Indians looked a compact side in all departments of the game with the strikers utilising the opportunities that came their way while the defence came up with a superlative show during the entire 60 minutes to keep Pakistani forwards at bay.
The dominating victory also can be looked upon as a sweet revenge for India after Pakistan, which is being coached by former India coach and High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans, scored a late equaliser to eke out a 1-1 draw in Gold Coast.
The Indians started positively and applied pressure on the Pakistani defence from the word go and in the process secured a penalty corner in the 13th minute but Harmanpreet’s attempt was saved by goalkeeper Imran Butt.
India got another set piece soon after the start of second quarter but once again wasted the chance.
But it didn’t took long for India to break the deadlock. In the 26th minute Ramandeep deflected in a Simranjeet Singh’s reverse pass to start the proceedings.
A minute before half time, an agile Butt once again came to Pakistan’s rescue keeping away Vivek Prasad’s deflection from top of the circle as India went into the break with a slender one goal advantage. – PTI