In what was a perfect start to their Hockey World Cup 2018 campaign, hosts India displayed a clinical effort against South Africa to defeat the visitors 5-0 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar on Wednesday.
India began proceedings in a dominant fashion, as striker Mandeep Singh found the net at the early stages of the first quarter and that was further capitalised by another effort by Akashdeep at the 12th minute. The two goals lifted India with a new-found confidence as they headed in for the second quarter.
In the second quarter, India continued to make their surge at South Africa’s final third, the visitors defended better and also kept India from stretching the lead as they blocked a penalty corner from the hosts. Meanwhile, South Africa are aimed to break on the counter but to no avail, as their visitors failed to test the India quarter. The quarter was evenly matched and India headed into the half-time mark with their 2-0 lead intact.
In the second half, India looked more ambitious, they moved around swiftly, switching the ball from left to right with pace and technique, and the strikers have found themselves in great positions right from the beginning of the second half which indicated more goals.
India increased their lead cushion by three goals and a brace by Simranjeet Singh gave the home side a comfortable 5-0 victory as they aim to lift the Hockey World Cup trophy for the first time in 43 years.