IFive-time champions India has virtually sealed their place in Saturday’s final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
They defeated Canada 7-3 in their fourth game at the Azlan Shah Stadium.
It was yet another superb performance by the world number five India as they easily demolished the ambitions of the North American team.
It was also a classic show of the Asian style of Hockey which uses speed and good counter-attacking skills to take the game.
India and Canada needed to win the match to keep their final berth ambition alive.
India had seven points going into the match while Canada had six.
India with 10 points has almost sealed their place while South Korea and Malaysia will aim for the other place.
India’s last match is against winless Poland on Friday.
Indian team manager Chris Ciriello said that the effort was much improved but felt that they could have done better in the later stages of the match.
“We go into every match wanting to win and against Canada, we had the early advantage with the 4-0 lead. The penalty corner conversion could have been better, but the field attempts make up for it.
“We are almost in the final, but we will wait to see what happens to the Malaysia-Korea game.
“Our focus is on one match at a time,” he added.
The match was evenly matched in the early stages but a goal from the first penalty corner in the 12th minute by Varun Kumar gave the former five-times champions the upper hand.
The second quarter clearly belonged to India, especially the hard-working Mandeep Singh.m
He scored the tournament’s second hattrick in the 20th, 27th and 29th minutes. It was a sublime performance from the 23-year-old from Punjab.
The first hattrick of the tournament was scored by Malaysia’s Faizal Saari in the opening tie against Poland.
Canada earned a penalty corner in the 35th minute and Mark Pearson scored with a deflected drag flick to reduce the deficit.
But their joy was short-lived as the Indians hit back almost immediately.
Amit Rohidas scored a penalty corner goal in the 39th minute and the Indians were easily coasting to a convincing win.
Canadian youngster Fin Boothroyd managed to score the second goal for the team in the 50th minute through a field attempt.
Vivek Prasad got into the scoring act as he scored the sixth goal from a field attempt in the 55th minute.
The gal scoring act in the fourth quarter did not stop there.
James Wallace scored goal number three for Canada in the 57th minute while India reached seven a minute later through Nilakanta Sharma.
The match ended 7-3 in India’s favor.
Canada coach Paul Bundy was unhappy at the way the team started the match.
“We lacked our usual hard work and discipline. That is not the way Canada plays India in the opening stages. We were better in the third and fourth quarters. We had some good chances as well but overall we have to look at our performance and feel let down
“Not just the players but the coaches as well,” he said.