Highlights, Champions Trophy Hockey 2018, India vs Argentina: Harmanpreet, Mandeep score in India’s second win: Just at the time you think to permit Pakistan to come back into the match this will prove as a dampener, the Indian defence display an exemplary discipline, built a foundation so tight that Fort Knox looked like sloppy security and then, like a patient vulture, swooped down and killed off the prey with some of the 3 goals in the 6 minutes.
This 4-0 scoreline can appear as the rich, but behind this was a substructure laid by the Indian defenders. Ramandeep marked also mark his comeback into the side with a well-deflected goal in this second quarter, but India then has to contend with an in-form Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Butt who actually bring off three superb saves.
Pakistan has been pushed India hard, in particular, the aspect of the third quarter where they enjoyed a 60 percent ball possession. But time and again, Harmanpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra, Amit Rohidas, Varun Kumar and Surender Kumar display their calmness prior to the chaos in the Indian midfield.
This perhaps displayed that Pakistan will be used as the third quarter to press and Surender, alongside the Lakra and Harman, used the dribble, aerial balls, and deft footwork to take away the ball from Pakistan sticks which were a major threatened to find an equalizer and make it India’s job difficult.
In the 54th minute, the Things opened up when a long ball from the defense found Simranjeet Singh. Receiving past a Pakistan midfielder, Simranjeet also witnessed acres of space in front and let loose a pass that cleanly cut the defense in half, leaving Muhammad Irfan struggle in the field.
Now Dilpreet trapped the ball on the run and neatly brush it past a confused and onrushing Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Butt. This was a perfect goal of the ages; combining vision, dexterity and that gift that only a few received, the touch of a born striker. Dilpreet, all of 18, is literally need some years to be mature and proved him a perfect striker.
Two goals up, Pakistan had no option which also opens up space between the defense and midfield. On the sidelines, Harendra, would have smacked his lips in glee anyway.
The gates were opening up. Patience and the plan of finishing Pakistan had been seen paying off. But then, in a surprising move, Roelant Oltmans, the Pakistan coach, removed the goalkeeper and put in a kicking back which is regarded as a gamble.
At the period when Mandeep made good of a cross and swept into the Pakistan striking circle from the right and excitedly pushed into an empty goal at the 3-0, the match which was declared as a dead.
In between the hooter and a split-second early, Ramadeep’s cross found Lalit who ward off it into Pakistan’s goal. A video recommendation was required in order to make sure the goal happened a before the hooter.
Slightly relieved at India’s win, Indian coach Harendra said, “I am happy that what we planned, we executed.”
“I have always maintained that if you play a solid defense line, through balls and counter attacks get that much more dangerous.”
But this wasn’t easy in the first three quarters. As promised, Oltmans, used a structure at the back with Muhammad Irfan which made him a free man. He marshalled the defence, rotated the ball which kept away the Indian forwards.
Pakistan’s possession in the first three quarters read 53, 41 and a whopping 60 percent. If India couldn’t end the match early, it was because they missed two penalty corners in the first two quarters. Flanks were used less and the midfield was lethargic, not using the space to good effect.
India lost quite a kfew balls in and around the space previous to the Pakistan striking circle. If India struggled in the third quarter, this was because of the unforced errors coming off almost all the players — Lakra losing it on the right, Manpreet committing errors while tackling, Simranjeet Singh losing in a one-to-one situation and Sardar’s soft pass reached to the Pakistan stick. It built pressure.
This was looked like Pakistan had scored in the third quarter, via Ajaz Ahmad. Harmanpreet was the first to turn to the umpire and also said about the video referral. The Indian defender contended that the ball had touched a Pakistan leg earlier than reaching Ahmad.
The referral denied the goal and the scoreline was back to 1-0 in India’s favor. And, eventually, Pakistan had a PC but the flick was high and bounced off Amit Rohidas’ shoulder. The umpire had already declared it as dangerous play.
Pakistan’s press was tight that was applied in both flanks. India held off the attacks. The defenders were clinical, calm and worked like surgeons anyway. Earlier somehow Manpreet saw the rising hit deflected by Vivek Prasad and Imran Butt by which the players collected the spectacular goal.
In between, India did miss sharp chances which also delivered belief to Pakistan that an equaliser could turn the tide.
Oltmans’ only hope was to get the goals which also bring in uncertainty for the Indian players. But this will not occur when the third quarter finished, Pakistan’s tiring legs opened up space in the midfield. Even Sardar ran into the Indian defence in order to deal with the different things.
Once Harmanpreet lost the ball when the team Pakistan attacked him, Sardar raced back, stole the ball away and created a counter by a flank pass.
Sreejesh didn’t have much to do apart from in the first quarter at what time he made a few saves off Pakistan’s impressive flank runs. Harendra was pleased with the defence but said a winning start is always needed to create momentum.
“In fact, the tournament starts from tomorrow (Sunday),” he said. “We play Argentina, the Olympic Champions and they are a tough cookie. We lost to them in the warm–up the match and we will plan better and play to their weakness and strength.”
On the penalty corners, the coach said he wasn’t too disconcerted that India missed the two they got but he said, “We need more PC’s to make an impact.”
Almost every player was mobbed by their fans but Sardar getting special treatment. “I have to be thankful to everybody that I am back in the team and that they believed in me,” said Sardar. “The matches with Pakistan are usually a little tense and it was good to get it out of the way.”
on Sunday, Sardar plays his 300th international against Argentina, quite a landmark in what is an enormously physical sport. When asked, he merely smiled and said, “The credit goes to the fans, my parents and the coaches.”
Harendra had special praise for Sardar, saying in a time when there is so much hockey and the demands of training are more, it’s remarkable that the former captain is playing his 300th match.
“I salute such players who make it past 300,” said Harendra. With less than 24 hours to go before India take the Olympic Champions, Argentina, a winning result would be the perfect gravy for an Indian team that will be like to celebrate their most experienced player’s landmark match also.