Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

A resurgent India finished joint-ninth along with Argentina in the FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup after beating South Africa 5-2 in a classification match at the Birsa Munda Stadium in Rourkela on Saturday.

Abhishek (fourth minute), Harmanpreet Singh (11th minute), Shamsher Singh (44th minute), Akashdeep Singh (48th minute), and Sukhjeet Singh (58th minute) scored a goal each for India. Mvimbi Samkelo (48th minute) and Cassiem Mustaphaa (59th minute) struck one each for South Africa.

The hosts stamped their authority and found the back of the net twice early in the first quarter to establish their dominance early on. Though Proteas had a fair bit of the possession, the Indian attack carried far more menace. The Men in Blue sounded the board for the third time in the penultimate quarter. The visitors found the back of the net for the first time in the match thereafter. The fourth and final quarter witnessed three goals and two of which were by India. South Africa got their second one through a penalty stroke only to reduce the margin.

The Harmanpreet Singh-led India finally signed off the World Cup on a positive note. They came into the game against South Africa after thrashing Japan 8-0 in the 9-16 classification game.