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India thrash Pakistan 7-1 to stay atop Group B

Alex Morton/Getty Images

Braces from Talwinder Singh, Harmanpreet Singh and Akashdeep Singh helped India beat Pakistan 7-1 and consolidate their position on top of pool B at the World League Semi-final in London on Sunday.

Pardeep Mor also found the net for India, while Muhammad Umar Bhutta scored the only goal for Pakistan, in the 57th minute, in the first of two World League matches between these countries to have produced a result. This also means India will avoid meeting either hosts England or reigning Olympic champions Argentina in the quarter-finals.

Pakistan began with greater possession of the ball and quick flank switches. A swift breakaway allowed Ajaz Ahmed to shrug off his marker and take on Indian goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya with the first shot of the match in the third minute, but his shot went wide.

India replied with a swift attack of their own, and an Aleem Bilal stick-check inside the Pakistan circle gave the team the first penalty corner of the match, which saw Harmanpreet's attempt saved by the Pakistan defence.

In the ninth minute, Akashdeep found himself inside the circle, but hit a feeble shot that was stopped by Pakistan goalkeeper Amjad Ali using his pads. Within a minute, Pakistan would get their first penalty corner, but Bilal's stinging attempt went just over Dahiya's far post.

India won their second penalty-corner in the 13th minute, and Harmanpreet couldn't make perfect contact with the ball. It worked out well for the Indian defender, though, as the lack of pace on the attempted drag flick helped the ball sneak in between Amjad's right foot and an outstretched right hand to give India the lead.

Pakistan won a penalty corner within seconds of the restart, but Bilal again fired the ball over the Indian goal with his drag flick. India won their third penalty corner in the 19th minute, but this time Amjad palmed Harmanpreet's high effort away to safety.

Two minutes later, India moved forward in good numbers, and a low cross from the left by Sardar Singh was deflected first by SV Sunil, before Talwinder helped it home into an unguarded goal.

Pakistan put some pressure on India with a couple of incisive passes, but were denied by some alert Indian defending, and Dahiya stepped up to effect saves anytime a Pakistan player got to the ball. India got their third goal in the 24th minute, when Satbir Singh sent in a diagonal ball inside the circle, and Talwinder dinked the ball just over Amjad's right shoulder to score his second.

Pakistan created the first chance of the second half in the 32nd minute, but Dahiya pulled off a good save from close range, and the counter-attack extracted an Amjad save off Akashdeep. A minute later, India's fourth penalty corner was converted into their fourth goal, a second for Harmanpreet.

Pakistan would earn themselves successive penalty corners in the 36th minute, and on both occasions Akash Chikte, who had stepped in for Dahiya in the third quarter, pulled off saves against Abu Mahmood -- one high above his head and the other low down to his right.

In the 42nd minute, Sardar initiated a move for India with a defence-splitting pass that found Mandeep Singh on the baseline to the right of Pakistan's goal. Mandeep's cut back would come to Chinglensana Singh, whose low shot was well saved by Amjad.

Akashdeep, who had scored in each of India's first two matches, started the fourth quarter for India on the perfect note, his powerful shot from inside the circle in the 47th minute giving the team a 5-0 lead. Two minutes later, Pardeep picked up a loose ball to the right and he squeezed a powerful drive into the top left corner of Amjad, who was then replaced in goal by Mazhar Abbas.

Pakistan won their fifth penalty corner in the 57th minute, and Bilal's low shot was defended by India, but the rebound was drilled in low for a successful deflection by Bhutta. Akashdeep then scored India's final goal within seconds of the restart.

India will play their last pool match against the Netherlands on Tuesday, which could determine who tops pool B, while Pakistan must beat Scotland on Monday to retain any mathematical chance of advancing to the knockout stages of the tournament.