Kuantan (Malaysia), Nov 22 (IANS) Harmanpreet Singh successfully converted four penalty corners as India overpowered traditional rivals Pakistan 6-2 in the final of the 8th Junior Men’s Asia Cup hockey tournament at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium here on Sunday. Harmanpreet scored his hat-trick inside 30 minutes to ease the issue for India. Armaan Qureshi (44th minute) and Manpreet jr. (50th) were the other goal-scorers for India. India started the match on a positive note, pressing hard since the opening minute of the first half and were soon awarded a penalty corner in the 10th minute. Harmanpreet converted the penalty corner to take his tally to 12 goals in the tournament and give India an early advantage of 1-0. India was again awarded back-to-back penalty corners in the 13th and 14th minute — the second one being fruitful for Harmanpreet. Pakistan fought back in the 28th minute with a successful penalty corner from Yaqoob Muhammad. However, India again got b ack on attack and earned another penalty corner that completed a hat-trick for Harmanpreet two minutes later as India went into the lemon break with a 3-1 lead.
The second half saw the Indian domination continue with Qureshi scoring in the 44th minute. Manpreet jr. made it 5-1 in the 50th minute. Three minutes later, senior Indian international Harmanpreet once again executed a perfect penalty corner conversion that made it a stunning 6-1 lead. Harmanpreet took his tournament goal tally to 15 goals — highest in the eight-nation meet. Dilber Muhammad got the second goal for Pakistan in the 68th minute as the match ended 6-2 in India’s favour. India chief coach Harendra Singh said his team was “hungry” for the title after finish runners-up to Britain in the 5th Sultan of Johor Cup last month.
“It was an exciting final and the boys displayed immaculate passion and calmness on the field. We ended up as runners-up in the 5th Sultan of Johor Cup which made it an even bigger win as we were hungry for the podium position,” Harendra said in a release. “The support was immense and we felt we were playing in our own backyard. We only have to look forward from here and keep giving such excellent performances.”