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AZLAN SHAH CUP
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SAS 2016: India outplays Pakistan for a 5-1 win (4/12/2016)
--K. Arumugam
Manpreet Singh's early enthusiasm, Sunil's opportunism, youngster Kothajit's energy, together with constant attacking attitude, helped India outplay Pak 5-1 in the Azlan Shah Cup. With the third win four matches, India now is placed second in the points table only behind Australia.

Manpreet Singh struck on his own in the third minute before setting up SV Sunil for second goal in the first quarter where Pakistan also struck the only goal of the match through captain Irfan off the second penalty corner.

Thereafter in the next quarters, India neatly outplayed Pakistan with an emerging brand of attacking hockey.

Manpreet Singh, who defended an Indian PC and got hurt in the third quarter, came back with vengeance and troubled the Pak defence. On one occasion, he was tripped from behind on the top of edge of D, which led to Australian umpire Murray Grime to signal the dreaded spot. However, ever reliable Rupinder Pal Singh, who just a couple of minutes before struck off India's third and last penalty corner, just placed the ball on the body of Imran Butt.

India by then was leading 5-1 and was rattling Pak defence. A close range deflection from Ramandeep Singh entered the D, celebration followed, but it took for a while for Murray to realize it is off a defender's stick, own goal, therefore no movement on the scoreboard.

Pak defence wilted as time wore out, getting a couple of temporarily suspension, even a loose stop by Rashid led to alert Talwinder bouncing on for India's fourth goal.

In line with the expectation, the India-Pakistan match started on a brisk note, with Manpreet Singh striking in the very third minute while off his same striker's feed, speedstar SV Sunil added another one close to tenth minute. In between, hardworking Umar Bhutta earned a penalty corner from the right backline placing his minus on the right foot of Rupinder Pal Singh. It was a test of character for new goalie Akash Chike. Imran took the drag, but hit the leg of Rupinder again, leading to second penalty corner. Imran this time placed it top of right net to bring score 1-1.

First quarter ended with a goal advantage for India.

After a sedate second quarter, India came alive with a gem of goal from SV Sunil. It was Kothajit who send a parallel from right flank, which Nikkin cleverly deflected to SV Sunil standing at the second post, lost no time to dive and connect, the ball reaching the net to the right of hapless Imran Butt, the rival goalie.

Shortly later, Rupinder sent a hit in, which got bounced off a defender inside the D, which Talwinder, just substituted, trapped and whacked a forehand for Indian goal (4-1).

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