Akashdeep Singh slammed a hat-trick as favourites India scored goals at will to thrash Uzbekistan 10-0 on Monday and storm into the semi-finals of the FIH Series Finals in Bhubaneshwar.
Akashdeep’s goals came in the 11th, 26th and 53rd minutes, while Varun Kumar (4th, 22nd) and Mandeep Singh (30th, 60th) scored a brace each for India.
Amit Rohidas (15th), Nilkanta Sharma (27th) and Gursahibjit Singh (45th) also registered on the scoresheet.
India finished atop Pool A with an unblemished record and will play the winner of the cross-over match between Japan and Poland in the semi-finals on Friday, while USA, who topped Pool B, will take on the winners of the other cross-over game between Russia and South Africa.
The last Pool A match turned out to be a mismatch as the Indians controlled the proceedings from start to finish.
India attacked in numbers and secured as many as five penalty corners in the first four minutes, the last of which was converted by Varun to hand the lead to the hosts.
Next was Akashdeep’s turn as he scored from a rebound from another short corner in the 11th minute. Four minutes later, Rohidas converted a penalty corner to make the scoreline 3-0 in India’s favour.
It continued to rain goals in the second quarter as India entered half-time with a handsome 7-0 lead. Varun scored his second in the 22nd minute from a field effort before Akashdeep found the Uzbek net with a reverse hit two minutes later.
Young Nilkanta Sharma scored from a rebound in the next minute from India’s next short corner. Mandeep completed the first half rout, pushing in from close range after Ramandeep Singh created the chance through a powerful run.
India dominated after the change of ends but could score just once in the third quarter. Gursahibjit guided the ball into the net in the 45th minute after receiving a through pass from Sumit.
Akashdeep completed his hat-trick before Mandeep scored another at the stroke of the final hooter to round off the drubbing. The Indians had 23 shots on goal while the Uzbeks had none.