India thrashed South Africa by 5-1 in the final of FIH Series Finals at the Kalinga Stadium here on Saturday.
India dominated South Africa throughout as the former did not take much time to score the opening goal of the match. India's Varun Kumar scored the first goal of the match from a penalty corner and helped India take a lead over South Africa.
However, India did not stop there as they added another goal which put immense pressure on the opponents. The second goal was scored by Harmanpreet Singh and he too scored the goal from a penalty corner.
Singh, who was later named as the man of the match, displayed a scintillating form in the match as he added another goal to India's tally through a penalty stroke. Consequently, India shined in the first half as it concluded on a score of 3-0.
The second half also started in a similar manner as India scored another goal, taking a massive four-goal lead over South Africa. Kumar then scored the fifth goal for the Indian side from a penalty corner. After the match was already slipped off South Africa's hands, they managed to score their first goal as Richard Pautz scored a goal from a penalty corner.
Despite registering a massive win in the final, India's head coach Graham Reid believes that there is still room for improvement and is looking forward to the Olympic Games' test event in Tokyo in August.
"It was a really interesting tournament. There are always things which we can improve. I think that the areas that we worked on in the last 2-3 months, we'll be continuing. The boys will now have a couple of weeks off, spend time with their families and recharge their batteries. Then we have a really hard month in July and we go to the Olympic Games' test event in Tokyo in August. It will be a busy period," Reid said.
Whereas South Africa's Head coach Garreth Ewing said: "First, we'll take from this tournament a step to the next round. It was really good for us to spend some time together as a team. The first couple of games were tough but we progressed nicely, then we found our rhythm and we were very competitive and really happy to play against India in the final. We lost to a very good team tonight."
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore the former Youth Affairs and Sports Minister congratulated the team and wish them luck for the Olympic Qualifiers;