India beat Canada 5-1 to enter quarterfinals
BHUBANESWAR, December 8: There is something about this Indian team. Every time they are pushed into a corner, they manage to find their way out. It happened against Belgium and it happened again against Canada here at the Kalinga Stadium on Saturday.
Almost flat for the first 45 minutes of play, India woke up with a roar to score four goals in the fourth quarter and make a slam-bang entry into the quarterfinals of the World Cup by hammering Canada 5-1.
Only a fly on the Indian wall can tell what coach Harendra Singh said at the end of third quarter that sent India’s performance graph crashing through the roof, led by Man-of-the-Match Lalit Upadhyay, who scored a brace.
After Belgium confirmed South Africa’s return ticket with a 5-1 thrashing, India needed a win over Canada to top the pool, irrespective of the margin of victory.
It was 1-1 when the hooter signalled the end of third quarter. A different India returned to the pitch from their huddle, and Canada were left shellshocked.
After Harmanpreet Singh’s opener in the 12th minute, Chinglensana Singh got India ahead in the 46th, Lalit made it 3-1 in the next minute, local boy
Amit Rohidas scored off India’s fourth penalty corner in the 51st and Lalit came back to put the final nail in the coffin to make it 5-1.
For Canada, Floris van Son scored the equaliser in the 39th minute to hush the home crowd.
But it must be said that big teams that India meet next will make them pay if so many chances are spilled.
Mandeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh and Akashdeep Singh — the core of India’s frontline — couldn’t have asked for more. Credit to them for creating scoring opportunities; but if you miss, it’s just counted as circle entries.
A team can make as many circle penetrations but unless some of those turn into goals that win you the game, it takes you back on the home-work desk. (TNN)