India beat South Africa to win FIH Series Finals

Indian players celebrate after winning the FIH Men's Series Finals 2019 in Bhubaneswar. PTI Photo/Swapan Mahapatra

BHUBANESWAR - Favourites India beat South Africa 5-1 to win the FIH Series Finals tournament on Saturday.

Dragflickers Varun Kumar and Harmanpreet Singh scored a brace each, while Vivek Sagar Prasad was the other goal scorer for India. South Africa's lone goal was scored by Richard Pautz.

World No. 5 India and South Africa had already qualified for the final round of the Olympic qualifiers before Saturday's match.

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Varun opened the scoring for India from the team's first penalty corner, which the hosts got in the second minute. In the 11th minute, Harmanpreet scored from another penalty corner.

Five minutes from half-time, Harmanpreet scored from a penalty stroke, which was awarded when Birendra Lakra was stick-checked inside South Africa's 'D' by Jethro Eustice.

Five minutes into the third quarter, India extended their lead when Prasad scored from close range after being set up by Simranjeet Singh.

India got another penalty corner in the 49th minute and Varun scored from a variation.

South Africa secured back-to-back penalty corners in the 53rd minute. From the second chance, Pautz deflected in Eustice's flick to reduce the margin to 5-1.

Earlier in the day, Asian Games champion Japan defeated USA 4-2 to finish third in the competition.