India finished the group stages unbeaten and are all but guaranteed top spot.
- India finish off league phase with a fourth win
- The defending champions clinch 13 points from five matches
- Harmanpreet Singh converted three of the four penalty corners
Muscat: Dragflicker Harmanpreet Singh scored a hat-trick as defending champions India defeated South Korea 4-1 in their final round robin match to keep a clean slate and storm into the semi-finals of the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) in Muscat on Wednesday. By virtue of this win, India are presently atop the standings with 13 points from five games.
FT. The Indian Men's Hockey Team face up to the challenge of a fast-paced Korean side to win 4-1 in their final pool-stage game of the Hero Asian Champions Trophy 2018, helped hugely by @13harmanpreet's sublime hat-trick on 24th October 2018.#INDvKOR #IndiaKaGame #HeroACT2018 pic.twitter.com/a2jaox9Ck6
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) October 24, 2018
Both India and Malaysia have already qualified for the last four stage of the tournament. Malaysia still has a game left against Pakistan on Thursday while Asian Games gold medalist Japan will take on hosts Oman. Harmanpreet (4th, 47th and 59th minutes) converted three penalty corners for India, while Gurjant Singh Singh scored the other from a field effort in the 10th minute.
For South Korea, Lee Seungil scored a brilliant field goal in the 20th minute. The eventual semi-final line-up will be decided after last round robin matches on Thursday. India had earlier thrashed hosts Oman 11-0 before outclassing arch-rivals Pakistan 3-1. In their last two matches, India mauled reigning Asian Games gold medalist Japan 9-0 before being held by old nemesis Malaysia to a goalless draw.
(With inputs from PTI)