Rourkela: Indian Men’s Hockey Team beat South Africa 5-2 in their 9th to 12th placing match in the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela. Playing in front of a packed audience in the stellar Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium on Saturday, India ensured an entertaining brand of hockey for the passionate crowds of Rourkela who beelined to the newly-built stadium for the last day’s proceedings in this stadium before the action moves to Bhubaneswar for the grand finale of the tournament on 29th January.
Ending their World Cup campaign with a win, India’s goals were scored by Abhishek (5′), Harmanpreet Singh (12′), Shamsher Singh (45′), Akashdeep Singh (49′) and Shamsher Singh (59′). For South Africa, Samkelo Mvimbi (49′) and Mustaphaa Cassiem (60′) scored.
Having beaten Japan 8-0 in their previous 9th to 16th placing match, the hosts were up to the South African challenge as they began play with powerful attacking formations. The intent brough quick results with Captain Harmanpreet setting up Abhishek with a long pass to the top of the circle. Picking it up well, Abhishek spun around to beat the South African defender, taking a perfect shot into the goal.
The 5th minute goal, put South Africa on the backfoot and under pressure they gave away a penalty corner early in the first quarter. Making use of the opportunity, Harmanpreet Singh struck a fine goal taking India’s lead to 2-0 in the 12th minute.
While the second quarter remained goalless despite quite a few PCs being awarded to India, their next goal came only in the end of the third quarter. It was a brilliant cross by Abhishek from the right flank to Shamsher in front of the goal mouth that did the trick with the later finding the top of the net to fetch India it’s third goal.
In control of the proceedings, India struck another one in the 49th minute and this time it was Jarmanpreet’s cross to Akashdeep that helped India extend their lead to a formidable 4-0. Though South Africa scored a field goal in the 49th minute through Samkelo Mvimbi, it didn’t dent India’s attack as they struck another goal via Sukhjeet. He made a fine attempt of a rebound he picked up from Akashdeep’s attempt that was pushed away from the South African defender. Though India earned a penalty stroke which was converted by Mustaphaa Cassiem in the 60th minute, India signed off with a sweet 5-2 on board.
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