Potchefstroom (South Africa): Drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh scored four goals to help India demolish South Africa 10-2 here Sunday. The win helped India bounce back from their last outing defeat in style in the men’s FIH Pro League hockey being played here. However, till the end of the first quarter there was no indication that India would run away with the match. At that time the scores were tied 1-1. However, in the next three quarters India pumped in nine goals to emerge comfortable winners.
Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist India, were stunned by lower-ranked France 2-5 Saturday. They won by the same margin in their first-leg match against South Africa.
Harmanpreet scored in the 36th, 52nd, 60th and 60th minute while Shilananda Lakra (27th and 48th minute) struck a brace. Surender Kumar (15th), Mandeep Singh (28th), Sumit (45th) and Shamsher Singh (56th) were the other goal scorers for India. Daniel Bell (12th) and Connor Beauchamp (53rd) scored for South Africa. India scored five goals in the fourth quarter with Harmanpreet contributing two.
India will face Spain in their next match in Bhubaneswar.
India dominated the fast-paced first quarter with a lot of opposition circle penetration. However, it was South Africa who scored first, in the 12th minute, with Bell converting the home side’s second penalty corner.
India also got two penalty corners in the first quarter. However, they equalised three minutes later with Surender firing into the roof of South Africa net from a fine field effort.
The Manpreet Singh-led side pumped in two quick goals in less than two minutes in the second quarter. The first was scored by Shilanand and the second by Mandeep. India thus went into the break with a 3-1 lead.
Krishna Bahadur Pathak, who started at the Indian goal instead of veteran PR Sreejesh, made a fine save by blocking a penalty stroke taken by Jethro Eustice.
After a few minutes of ascendency by South Africa, India roared back with a slew of dangerous attacks. Harmanpreet scored from the visiting team’s third penalty corner in the 36th minute. Sumit then fired in a field goal through a reverse flick to make it 5-1 in the 45th minute and break South Africa’s back.
India did not show any mercy on a demoralised South Africa as they pumped in five more goals in the final quarter. South Africa pulled one back in the in the 53rd minute through Connor Beauchamp.