Breda: The Asian giants started the tournament and gave this final edition of the Hockey Champions Trophy the perfect inauguration. The match ended 4-0 in the Blue’s favor, however, both teams played a terrific end-to-end game with lots of created chances. The hosts, Netherlands were undone by Peillat and Matias Paredes, Argentina defeated the Netherlands by 2-1. The final match of the day saw the world number-one side Australia clashed with the world number 3, Belgium. An exhilarating display of performance was presented by both the teams, in a match which ended 3-3.
Arguably the most anticipated match of any tournament, India against Pakistan started the tournament earlier today. India pressed hard in the opening minutes of the match. Pakistan then started to play an attacking game, rushing through the right-hand side of the pitch on numerous occasions. But the Indian defense was up to the task and stunning display from Shreejesh Parattu, the Indian Goalkeeper, and his defensive line kept Pakistan out of their goal throughout the match.
India took the lead in the late minutes of the second quarter when Ramandeep Singh deflected the ball into the goal from a tight angle. Imran Butt, Pakistan’s number one was defeated by the pace and low angle of the ball. Pakistan got on flying in the second half and dominated possession. Pakistan managed to put the ball in the back of the net, but the goal was disallowed by the referee. India were strong in defense and exceptional on the counter, winning possession deep inside their own 25, and rushing through the Pakistan defense. India won 4 penalty corners in the process, but couldn’t get through the Pakistani goalkeeper. The scores remained unchanged till the 54th minute.
The youngest player on the pitch, and probably one of the youngest in the history of the competition at the age of 17, Dilpreet Singh, showed great composure and skill to pick a long ball at the top of the circle, cut the keeper, and slide the ball into the back of the net. Pakistan then brought on a kicking center half, giving them 11 outfield players. Pakistan still couldn’t get the breakthrough as stubborn India’s defense maintained their shape. Three minutes later, Mandeep Singh tapped the ball into an open goal, and at the final whistle, Lalit deflected the ball into the empty goal. The goal was allowed and India won comfortably at the end by 4-0.
In the second match of the day Argentina got the better of the host nation defeating them by 2-1. The Netherlands took the lead 14th minute, however, Argentina leveled things up thanks to the prolific penalty corner specialist, Gonzalo Peillat. A goal in the 60th minute Matias Paredes gave Argentina the victory. In the third game, Australia and Belgium drew 3-3. Australia is the reigning champions of the tournament and have secured 14 gold medals thus far. They seek to win the last edition of the prestigious event, while Belgium seeks for their first gold medal at an international event.
Tomorrow, India will take on Argentina, while Pakistan will face Australia. The Netherlands will take on Belgium.
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