India put up a brilliant performance in the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup as the young guns defeated Poland by a massive margin of 8-2 and qualified for the quarter-finals of the Junior World Cup on Saturday.
In its last Pool B match, India earned five cards, including three yellow, while pressing hard to ensure a much-needed victory. The host, which placed second in Pool B with six points, will face Pool A topper Belgium in the last eight.
India began on a dominating note, scoring twice and putting pressure in the opening quarter. Backed by good distribution and positive intent, the host made repeated raids and Sanjay, the team’s top scorer, drew first blood executing a low flick beautifully.
Hundal’s powerful and high flick in the seventh minute widened the lead.
However, the home side had some worries in terms of Maninder Singh pulling his hamstring just before the first break.
Even as Poland tried to minimize damage with better possession, local forward Chirmako brilliantly foxed a defender to fire home a spectacular field goal in the 24 minutes to give India a 3-0 lead at half-time.
Captain Vivek Sagar Prasad beat three defenders with his stick work to set up Uttam and the latter did not make any mistake to extend the lead after the change of ends.
Shardanand Tiwari and Chirmako shot two more goals in the penultimate round off India’s frequent circle penetration.
Poland put some pressure, collecting several penalty corners on either side of the third break. W. Rutowski brought cheers to his camp by scoring off the seventh corner.
Robert Pawlak narrowed the margin further before Sanjay and Hundal restored the lead.