Pakistan hockey team's chances to get berth of World Cup 2018 have increased as they beat China 3-1 in the seventh and eighth place payoff to finish their Hockey World League (HWL) semi-final round on seventh position. In the first match between the two sides, the scoreline was 7-1.
India: Ramandeep Singh 2, Mandeep Singh 2, Talwinder Singh & Harmanpreet Singh one goal each.
India came from a 1-0 deficit to take the lead and were building numerous chances but were being denied one after another or just unable to bang the board when the opportunities and space did arrive inside the area. A Pakistan defender tried to clear the ball from inside the goal post but he could only nick it. Ramandeep got hold of the ball and hit in in between the legs of the keeper for the opener. Talwinder struck in the 25th minute, angling a great pass from Pradeep Mor, and in the 27th minute, Akashdeep set up most of a third goal. India, ranked sixth in the world, crashed out of the podium race after suffering a 2-3 loss to 14th placed Malaysia in a quarterfinal match. Pakistan will get direct qualification in the World Cup 2018 as India have automatic qualification being the hosts and Argentina are nearly certain to be the champions of their continent. In the 51st minute, Ammad Shakeel Butt, perhaps the most impressive Pakistani player in this event, beautifully robbed a defender.
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Mandeep helped India win their first penalty corner in the sixth minute but Harmanpreet's flick was blocked. But they continued to be erratic even as Canada fell back to stoutly defend the lead. In the classification match, they defeated China 7-3 and will now vie for the fifth spot against India. Johnston converted Canada's second penalty corner with a rasping flick to the top right corner of the goal.
By the end of the first half, the Indians were fortunate enough to score two more goals. India scored again in the 59th minute, with Mandeep Singh driving the ball in through a rebound off a penalty corner chance, and that was the last goal of the match.
Image: Official Facebook page of Hockey India. Coach Roelant Oltmans withdrew goalkeeper Akash Chikte and added an extra striker but Canada defended well.
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