The Indian U-18 Men’s Hockey Team secured their berth in the Quarter-Finals of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games as they beat Canada 5-2 in their fifth and last Pool B match held here at the Parque Polideportivo Roca on Thursday. Sanjay (4′, 17′), Shivam Anand (7′), Sudeep Chirmako (10′) and Rahul Kumar Rajbhar (17′) scored in India’s victory which saw them finish at the second spot in Pool B, while it was Rowan Childs (15′, 16′) who scored twice for Canada.
After the defeat to Australia on Wednesday in their fourth match, the Indian team looked to regain their winning form and started the match aggressively which saw Captain Vivek Sagar Prasad and Sudeep Chirmako troubling the Canadians as they took a shot each at goal inside the opening minute. India’s dominance in the first period saw them score the first goal of the match in the 4th minute when Sanjay’s strike found the back of the net, while it was Shivam Anand who doubled the lead in the 7th minute through a fierce finish. The Indian team outplayed their opponents in the first period as they extended their lead to three goals with Sudeep Chirmako also getting onto the score-sheet in the 10th minute.
Canada improved their performance in the second period as Rowan Childs and Brendan Guraliuk had opportunities inside the opening two minutes but could not get their shots on target. On the other hand, India’s front trio of Shivam Anand, Vivek Sagar Prasad and Sudeep Chirmako forced Canada’s Goalkeeper Ethan McTavish to make some great reflex saves inside the first three minutes. However, it was Rowan Childs who gave Canada hope in the 15th minute as he got his shot past Indian Goalkeeper Prashant Chauhan. Canada’s Childs was in action again in the next minute as he beat the Indian Goalkeeper twice in two minutes to make it a nervy ending for the Indian team. However, the Indian team did not let the match slip away from their grip as Sanjay and Rahul Kumar Rajbhar scored the fourth and the fifth goals respectively in the 17th minute to restore India’s three-goal advantage. India’s Chauhan made some fine saves in the dying stages of the match to see India through to the final whistle with a scoreline of 5-2.
The win means that India finish at the second spot in Pool B with a tally of 12 points, behind leaders Australia who finished with a 100% record. In Pool A, Argentina finished at the first spot, with Malaysia (2nd), Poland (3rd), Zambia (4th), Mexico (5th) and Vanuatu (6th) finishing behind the leaders.