India thrash Pak again- Champions Trophy Hockey

A day after Indian kabbadi team beat Pakistan in Dubai it was the turn of bluesticks as India beat traditional rivals Pakistan 4-0 in Champions Trophy Hockey opener in Breda,Netherlands.It was Harendra Singh’s first game in charge of men’s  hockey team and it was winning start.Also it was a sweet revenge for India against arch rivals as just two months back they suffered hearbreaking draw against Pakistan in their Commonwealth Games opening match in Gold Coast, Australia.

Indian squad comprising both experienced and youngsters played brilliantly to outsmart Pakistan.Sardara Singh and Ramandeep Singh made a comeback to the side after missing CWG.After a goalless first quarter Ramandeep scored India’s first goal in 26th minute with a deflection which went through Pakistan custodian’s pads.Immediately after the goal Pakistan missed the chance to equalise when Sreejesh made a good save.At half time India led 1-0.In the third quarter Pakistan equalised only to see video referral taken by India disallow that goal due to dangerous hit by Pakistani player.In the fourth quarter 17 year old Dilpreet Singh scored a brilliant goal for India in 54th minute on a counter.With more than five minutes to go for hooter, Pakistan substituted their goalkeeper with an attacking player in order to score.However their plan failed as star Mandeep Singh scored an open goal in 57th minute.Lalit Upadhyay rounded off with another strike in the final minute to seal comprehensive victory for India.
India and Pakistan have now met in 173 matches with India winning 60 while losing 82 of them.31 matches ended in draws.However since 2010 they have played 33 times with India winning 17 of those while losing 8 and drawing 8.Today’s match was 100th encounter between these two great hockey nations.India have  never won Champions Trophy.This is 37th and last edition of the prestigious tournament.Only a couple of days back Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik made a request  to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to officially make hockey as our national game.Let us hope Indian team comes back with a gold.
By Shailesh Padhye
Sportsnasha Team