The Indian hockey side would want to seal a semi-final spot © Getty Images (File Photo)
The Indian hockey side would want to seal a semi-final spot © Getty Images (File Photo)

Incheon: Sep 26, 2014

The Indian men’s hockey team, smarting from a 1-2 loss to defending champions Pakistan, will be looking to maximise its chances of a semifinal berth with a win against China in their final pool B match of the 17th Asian Games at the Seonhak Hockey Stadium on Saturday.

India captain Sardar Singh said that the loss against Pakistan did hurt but he is hopeful that the team will bounce back after learning from their mistakes. “It was an intense match against Pakistan and unfortunately we conceded a late goal and lost. We have left the loss behind and learnt from our mistakes, the team is very much focussed against China. They are a strong team but we are prepared and confident about putting up a promising show,” Sardar said.

Chief coach Terry Walsh predicted that the contest will be evenly fought and effectiveness in front of goal will be key to determine its outcome. “We have seen China stifle Pakistan with goals only coming from rare chances. This game will be very tight and the focus will be on effectiveness inside the scoring zone. Chances will only be created with quality ball control,” Walsh said.

“Correct decisions must be made to open up their defence. Recognising how they play in different phases of the game will be key. We must bring forth the energy necessary for this crucial contest,” he added. This will be the fifth meeting between the neighbours the Asian Games, with India enjoying a 3-1 winning record.