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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Asian Champions Trophy 2023: India trounce Pakistan to ace run to semis

Harmanpreet (15th, 23rd) converted two penalty corners, while Jugraj Singh (36th) netted from another set piece

PTI Chennai Published 10.08.23, 07:15 AM
Teammates rejoice with Harmanpreet Singh (second from right) during their win over Pakistan in the Asian Champions Trophy match in Chennai on Wednesday.

Teammates rejoice with Harmanpreet Singh (second from right) during their win over Pakistan in the Asian Champions Trophy match in Chennai on Wednesday. PTI

Skipper Harmanpr­eet Singh scored twice as a dominant India beat arch-rivals Pakistan 4-0 in their final round-robin league match to enter the semi-finals of the Asian Champions Trophy hoc­key tournament on an unbeaten note here on Wednesday.

Harmanpreet (15th, 23rd) converted two penalty corners, while Jugraj Singh (36th) netted from another set piece. India’s final goal came from the stick of Akashdeep Singh from a field play in the 55th minute.

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The result meant India to­pped the standings with 13 points from four wins and a draw.

It was heartbreak for Pakistan as they crashed out of the tournament on goal difference despite finishing on five points with Korea and Japan. They needed at least a draw or a one-goal defeat to make it to the last-four.

India will play Japan in Friday’s second semi-final, while Malaysia will lock horns with Korea. Pakistan will now play China in the fifth-place playoff, also on Friday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Japan beat China 2-1 to qualify for the semis, while Malaysia came up with a spirited performance to trump defending champions South Korea 1-0 in a match that was academic at best, as both teams had already made it to the semis.

In an attacking start from both teams, Pakistan showed early sparks by getting into the Indian circle on quite a few occasions. But the Indian defence held its composure to not allow any inroads.

Just at the stroke of the first quarter, India earned a penalty corner and Harmanpreet made no mistake, putting India in the lead with a powerful low flick.

The hosts earned five penalty corners in the match and converted three out of them. Pakistan, on the other hand, struggled to attack and keep the ball in possession as the Indians continued to dominate till the final minute.

In the other matches of the day, Japan took the lead in the eighth minute with Shota Yamada scoring. Kentaro Fukuda also found the net for Japan, while Suozhu Ao scored China’s lone goal in the 57th minute. Malaysia’s Abu Kamal Azrai scored his team’s winner against Korea.

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