Junior Hockey World Cup: India defeats Poland to qualify for quarterfinals

An aggressive India relied on Sanjay, Araijeet Singh Hundal and Sudeep Chirmako’s braces to beat Poland 8-2 to record its second win and qualify for the quarterfinals.

Indian players celebrate after scoring a goal against Poland in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.

An aggressive India relied on Sanjay, Araijeet Singh Hundal and Sudeep Chirmako’s braces to beat Poland 8-2 to record its second win and qualify for the quarterfinals of the men’s hockey Junior World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here on Saturday.

In its last Pool B match, India earned five cards, including three yellow, while pressing hard to ensure a much-needed victory. The host, which placed second in Pool B with six points, will face Pool A topper Belgium in the last-eight.  

India began on a dominating note, scoring twice and putting pressure in the opening quarter.

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Backed by good distribution and positive intent, the host made repeated raids and Sanjay, the team’s top scorer, drew first blood executing a low flick beautifully.

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Hundal’s powerful and high flick in the seventh minute widened the lead.

However, the home side had some worries in terms of Maninder Singh pulling his hamstring just before the first break.

Even as Poland tried to minimize damage with better possession, local forward Chirmako brilliantly foxed a defender to fire home a spectacular field goal in the 24 minute to give India a 3-0 lead at half-time.

Captain Vivek Sagar Prasad beat three defenders with his stick work to set up Uttam and the latter did not make any mistake to extend the lead after the change of ends.

Shardanand Tiwari and Chirmako shot two more goals in the penultimate round off India’s frequent circle penetration.

Poland put some pressure, collecting several penalty corners on either side of the third break. W. Rutowski brought cheers to his camp by scoring off the seventh corner. 

Robert Pawlak narrowed the margin further before Sanjay and Hundal restored the lead.

The results

Pool A: Malaysia bt South Africa 4-3, Belgium bt Chile 3-0; Pool B: France bt Canada 11-1; India 8 (Sanjay 4, 58, Araijeet Singh Hundal 7, 60, Sudeep Chirmako 24, 40, Uttam Singh 34, Shradanand Tiwari 38) bt Poland 2 (Wojciech Rutkowski 50, Robert Pawlak 54); Pool D: Pakistan bt Egypt 3-1.