| Prabhjot Singh after scoring India’s second goal against Pakistan in Perth Saturday. (AP)
Perth, May 31 (PTI): India registered a 2-0 victory against Pakistan in their last league match on Saturday to move into the final of the three-nation invitational hockey tournament.
Unperturbed by the loss they suffered in their previous league match against Australia, India persisted with their attacking game and scored through strikers Baljit Singh Dhillon (18th minute) and Prabhjot Singh (55th minute) to win the first match between the two sides this year.
India, who finished their league engagements with two wins from three matches, will meet Australia in the final on Sunday. The win was India’s fourth in the five matches played between them in the last one year.
India drew first blood in the 18th minute when they earned a penalty corner. Dhillon succeeded in sounding the box as the Indians managed to hold the lead till the breather.
Pakistan stepped on the gas for an equaliser in the second half. But they failed to penetrate the Indian defence, thanks to Dilip Tirkey and Jugraj Singh, who kept the rival strikers at bay.
Pakistan’s desperation to score the equaliser helped the Indians in extending the lead when Prabhjot came up with a brilliant goal 15 minutes before the hooter.
India carefully negotiated the final minutes of the game playing sensibly and hardly gave any opportunity to Pakistan to have an aim at their goal.
Coach Rajinder Singh lauded the team effort and did not think that the absence of some senior players in the Pakistan side including Sohail Abbas and Mohammed Nadeem helped India’s cause. Both Abbas and Nadeem were dropped from the side for the tournament on “disciplinary grounds.”
“It was good to see the seniors and junior playing well in tandem. It is a good sign for the game in the country. The combinations were good today and all played well to script the win,” he said.
The coach said despite losing the league match against Australia 0-2 on Thursday, his team was quite confident of turning the tables on the hosts in the final.
Australia A whip seniors 7-2
Grant Schubert scored three goals as Australia A upset their senior team 7-2 in the last league match. The Australian team put up a rank bad performance to suffer their first defeat in the competition.