Ipoh, Malaysia, 10 April 2016: India registered their second win at the 25th Sultan Azlan Cup 2016 beating Canada 3-1. Earlier in the day, Australia outclassed Pakistan by 4-0, while New Zealand defeated Japan by 4-1.
India started off strongly and registered their first goal in the 3rd minute itself. A brilliant pass by Rupinder Pal Singh split the Canadian defence open to allow Ramandeep Singh, marking his return, to allow Nikkin Thimmaiah a simple tap in for the opener. Chinglensana had another attempt – a superb reverse hit attempt-saved by the goalkeeper to ensure Canada went into the break just a goal down.
The Canadians responded strongly in the second quarter, coming back and matching India strength for strength. Canada’s best showing came in the second quarter as they managed a massive seven circle penetrations, and 50% of the possession. Appropriately, they scored the equaliser with six minutes of the quarter remaining via Keegan Pereira. The two teams walked into halftime level at 1-1.
Rudely awakened, India did not allow any such lapses in concentration in the second half as they came out looking to close the match strongly. Having not been awarded a single PC in the first half, India managed to win one ten minutes into the third quarter and duly converted it in style. India’s young dragflicker Harmanpreet Singh, scored his second goal of the tournament to give India the lead.
India did not let up in the fourth quarter, controlling the possession and had 7 circle penetrations in the final period. In contrast, Canada managed a solitary penetration in the entire period. Another PC by India was saved smartly by Canada.
The quarter saw a brilliant solo effort by Sardar Singh hit the post. Winning the ball in midfield, Sardar stormed down almost 50 yards before trying a reverse flick that hit the post and bounced back only to be cleared by the Canadian defence.
Not too long later though, India ensured the result did not change after a Sardar Singh cross, and a Chinglensana miss-hit, left Talwinder Singh with the clearest of chances inside the box to extend India’s lead to 3-1 and ensured they took home the points.
With the win India moved up to third place in the standings.
India next play Pakistan at 15:35 pm IST on 12th April, 2016.
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