India Beat South Africa 5-1 to Win FIH Series Finals
India lived up to their billing and thrashed South Africa 5-1 in the summit clash to win the FIH Series Finals hockey tournament in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.
Dragflickers Varun Kumar (2nd and 49th minutes) and Harmanpreet Singh (11th and 25th) scored a brace each, while Vivek Sagar Prasad (35th) was the other goal scorer for India.
South Africa's lone goal was scored by Richard Pautz in the 53rd minute.
India and South Africa have already qualified for the final round of the Olympic qualifiers before Saturday's summit clash.
Earlier in the day, Asian Games champion Japan defeated USA 4-2 to finish third in the competition.
Going by world rankings, the Indians were expected to control the proceedings and they exactly did that from the word go.
In the 11th minute, India got another penalty corner and this time Harmanpreet slammed home to make the scoreline 2-0 in favour of the hosts.
Seconds before the end of the first quarter, South Africa got a rare opportunity but Nqobile Ntuli's reverse hit was kept away by Krishan Bahadur Pathak in front of the Indian goal.
The flow of the match continued in the same vein after the change of ends with India dominating the proceedings.
Five minutes into the third quarter, India extended their lead when Vivek Sagar Prasad scored from close range after being set up by Simranjeet Singh.
India secured their third penalty corner in the 41st minute but this time Amit Rohidas' try was saved by the South African goalkeeper.
South Africa finally had something to cheer about when they secured back-to-back penalty corners in the 53rd minute and from the second chance, Pautz deflected in Eustice's flick to reduce the margin to 5-1.
Four minutes from the final hooter, India secured two more penalty corners but failed to utilise the opportunities.
South Africa too got a last chance to pull another goal back in the form of their third penalty corner but to no effect.
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