For India, the final of the Olympic Hockey Test Event turned out to be golden revenge for earlier pool game loss to New Zealand. India not only pumped in a maximum number of goals- five – ever in a single game against New Zealand but also walked away with a crown that may well be a great morale booster in the Olympic Qualifier later this year. The win witnessed a second-quarter blitzkrieg that saw India scoring four goals, including a penalty corner conversion by Shamsher Singh and the rest as field goals reflecting how the forward line in cohesion with half line worked like a well-oiled machine.
India’s earliest biggest win against New Zealand was 4-0 in Azlan Shah Hockey a couple of years ago. Interestingly, the final day of the men’s event turned out to be the tall scoring day. Earlier, Japan defeated Malaysia 6-1 for the bronze medal. It was skipper Harmanpreet Singh who set the scoring in motion for India. In the seventh minute, his neat flick met no resistance. Three minutes into the second quarter, it was Shamsher Singh who scored India’s second penalty corner goal before Nilakanta Sharma, Gursahibjit Singh and Mandeep Singh caught the Kiwi defense line on the wrong foot to add to Indian scoreline.
The Black Sticks, however, came back strongly and defended their citadel well in the third and fourth quarter preventing any further damage. Basking in the glory of the second quarter, India played to a strategy in keeping the ball moving while keeping its lead intact. And when the final whistle blew, India not only assured itself of a gold medal but also its biggest ever win against New Zealand besides taking golden revenge of its earlier 1-2 defeat in pool games. India also justified its higher ranking (No 5) against its final opponents, New Zealand (No 8).