Commonwealth Games, Men’s Hockey: India thumps Canada 8-0, moves top of Pool B

Commonwealth Games: India extended its commanding run over Canada with its thumping with six players entering the scoresheet on Wednesday in Birmingham.

India stormed onto the top of the points table of Pool B with a resounding victory over the Canadians and now has one foot in the men’s hockey semifinal.

India stormed onto the top of the points table of Pool B with a resounding victory over the Canadians and now has one foot in the men’s hockey semifinal. | Photo Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Commonwealth Games: India extended its commanding run over Canada with its thumping with six players entering the scoresheet on Wednesday in Birmingham.

The Indian men’s hockey team bettered its already impressive head-to-head record against Canada to 27-4, flooring the side 8-0 in a Commonwealth Games Pool B encounter at the University of Birmingham. Manpreet Singh and Co, with seven points from three games, have now moved to the top of the group, and have one foot in the semifinals. 

Vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh, having two of his early efforts from a penalty corner blocked, one of those fearlessly so by an onrushing Brendan Guraliuk, slotted home in the seventh minute to get India up and running. 

A magical moment followed, three minutes later, as Varun Kumar set Amit Rohidas up with a pass for the ages from the right. Amit, trapping the ball at the edge of the circle, dribbled past a clueless Canadian defence to extend India’s lead. 

In the 20th minute, taking advantage of a goalmouth squabble after a penalty corner, Lalit Upadhyay dragged one onto the target, the ball palmed homeward by the goalkeeper’s arm. 

Gurjant Singh, who sat out the last 10 minutes of the previous game against England after seeing a yellow card, gave Indian fans more reasons to smile on this occasion as he slid valiantly across the turf to tap in a cross from Hardik Singh in the 27th minute. 

At the halfway mark, India, ranked fifth in the world, led 4-0. The party, though, had just started. 

In the 38th minute, Vivek Sagar Prasad opened the Canadian defence from the right for Akashdeep Singh to hammer in the fifth. 

Harmanpreet moved to second on the individual scorers’ tally in CWG, behind England’s Nicholas Bandurak (7), with a sixth successful penalty corner conversion in the 56th minute. 

Mandeep and Akashdeep fired in the seventh and eighth goals respectively to complete the annihilation of a Canadian side that looked mostly clueless throughout. The only bright spot, in what was a day to forget for the John Smythe-led team, was the individual performance from Guraliuk. 

“It was important for us to score as many goals as possible after the draw against England (4-4 in the last outing. We missed quite a few chances today too. But we are happy with the result. It is a good score,” India skipper Manpreet said after the game. 

“There is no place for complacency. Our target is to score more, concede less and top the group.” 

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