India made a late surge and opened their Champions Trophy challenge with a 4-0 win over Pakistan at the De Bredase Hockey and Bandy Club stadium.

The Indians, ranked sixth in the world, is playing its 19th match against the 13th ranked Pakistanis in the Champions Trophy series, controlled the game but only managed to get their final three goals in the last quarter.

The Pakistanis also opted to play with a ‘kicking back’ instead of a goalkeeper from the 55th minute and that gave the Indians greater room to score two more.

Ramandeep Singh gave the Indians the lead in the 26th minute through a field attempt. The game at the point was still an evenly matched tie.

But in the 54th minute, Dilpreet Singh had the easy task of slotting home into the empty net after deflecting a cross by Ramandeep.

Three minutes later Mandeep Singh made a solo run into the D and scored with a reverse flick.

Lalit Upadhyay rounded off the scoring with another field goal in the 60th minute for a well deserved the win.

It is only Indian’s seven win over the Pakistanis in the series while their neighbors have won 12 times.

The Indians have not won the Champion Trophy title in its 37 editions.

The Pakistanis, on the other hand, had won the title three times in 1978, 1982 and 1994.

India coach Harender Singh said that the win was a good motivation for the team but wanted to see them improve further.

“We left it late for the goals to come. But it was well worth the wait and we had a better defensive structure.

“Our target is the Asian Games in Indonesia in August. But getting a good result here in Breda is also crucial. We need to keep up a winning momentum,” he added.

The Pakistan team had a younger set of players with only seven having more than 100 caps.

They are goalkeeper Imran Butt (120), Rashid Mehmood (122), Mohamed Irfan (190), Shafqat Rasool (191), Ali Shan (1134), Mohamed Rizwan (137) and Umar Bhutta.

But for Pakistanis Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans the match was a learning curve as he eyes the Asian games as well.

“Every match here is important form a learning viewpoint. So the players will learn from the experience. We need to keep our focus and look forward to the natch match against Australia tomorrow,” he said. – BY S. RAMAGURU



India 4 Pakistan 0

Holland 1 Argentina 2

Australia 3 Belgium 3



India vs Argentina

Holland vs Belgium

Australia vs Pakistan

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