Akashdeep Singh slammed a hattrick as favourites India thrashed Uzbekistan 10-0 to storm into the semifinals of the FIH Series Finals here yesterday. Akashdeep’s goals came in the 11th, 26th and 53rd minutes. Varun Kumar (4th, 22nd) and Mandeep Singh (30th, 60th) scored a brace each. Amit Rohidas (15th), Nilkanta Sharma (27th) and Gursahibjit Singh (45th) were also on target. India finished atop Pool A with an all-win record and will play the winner of the cross-over match between Japan and Poland in the semifinals on Friday, while USA, who topped Pool B, will take on the winners of the other crossover 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. The action was all in the Uzbekistan half as India attacked in numbers from the word go 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 home team. Next was Akashdeep’s turn to register his name in the scoresheet 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 scored four more to go into the breather with a handsome 7-0 lead. It was a no contest at all as Uzbekistan failed to threaten India’s goal even once in the entire 60 minutes. India’s domination can be gauged from the fact that they earned as many as 12 penalty corners as against the rivals’ none. The Indians had 23 shots on goal while the Uzbeks had none.
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