Dominant India storm into final

Dominant India storm into final

On target India’s Mandeep Singh (left) scores against Canada in the Azlan Shah hockey tournament in Ipoh. HI Media

Striker Mandeep Singh scored a brilliant hat-trick as India outplayed Canada 7-3 to book a summit clash berth against Korea in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament here on Wednesday.

Korea beat hosts Malaysia 2-1 in another match of the day to set up a summit clash against India on Saturday.

The 24-year-old Mandeep fired in three quick field goals (20th, 27th and 29th minutes) after Varun Kumar had given India the lead in the 12th minute of the high-scoring match.

At the half time, India were 4-0 up in the match before Canada reduced the margin through a strike from Mark Pearson in the 35th minute. Amit Rohidas (39th), Vivek Prasad (55th) and Nilakanta Sharma (58th) struck later to take the game beyond the reach of the Canadians who scored two late goals through Fin Boothroyd (50th) and James Wallace (57th).

India and Korea, the two unbeaten sides in the tournament, now have 10 points each from four matches, with identical three wins and a draw. They both booked a berth in the final with a game in hand to be played on Friday.

India play Poland (zero point) in their final league match on Friday while Korea take on Japan (3 points from 4 matches) on the same day.

Malaysia are third in the league table with six points with one match left to play. India and Korea had played out a 1-1 draw in the league stage on March 24.

Varun converted a penalty corner in the 12th minute to open the scoring for India before Mandeep extended India’s lead scoring thrice in the second quarter and completing his hat-trick by the 29th minute.

Canada pulled one back in the 35th minute through Mark Pearson’s penalty corner. However, India powered through, Amit Rohidas scoring in the 39th minute to help India take a 5-1 lead going into the final quarter which saw a goal-fest with both teams scoring two goals each.