NEW DELHI (AFP) India defeated Pakistan 7-4 in a Commonwealth Games mens Pool A hockey match to move into the semi-finals here on Sunday. All the colour, passion and excitement that the Commonwealth Games have struggled to generate burst into the open on Sunday evening in a small elegant brick stadium in the heart of imperial Delhi. The hockey clash between bitter rivals India and Pakistan sold out several weeks ago, since when residents of the capital have showed limited interest in any of the other sports. The lucky 19,000 packed into the open-air Major Dhyan Chand Stadium and had already whipped themselves into a raucous fever before the action kicked off. With steeply-banked seats going right down to the field of play, the cauldron atmosphere soon came to a boil as India rocketed off to a 4-0 lead within 20 minutes. For millions of Indians, love of hockey comes a close second to love of cricket, and a clash against rival nation and neighbour Pakistan was an irresistible fixture. Thumping Bollywood music and bright lights created a carnival atmosphere and the occasion was topped off with stardust when Rahul Gandhi, scion of Indias famous political dynasty, was spotted sitting among ordinary spectators surrounded by discreet security. During half-time, he and his mother Sonia the matriarch of Indias ruling elite waved to the crowds in an unusually relaxed public appearance. Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of the Games organising committee, was also in the ground, pleased perhaps to see one enthusiastic full-house at a sporting spectacle that has often been played out in front of empty and silent stands. Pakistan and India have had a fractious history since partition of the subcontinent in 1947, fighting three wars and involved in many cross-border disputes. But the focus on Sunday was all on the hockey field, with the game played for the highest of stakes: an Indian victory would mean the host nation progressing to the semi-finals. A loss or draw would see Pakistan sailing through. A fifth goal early in the second half took India to 5-2 and well on the way to crowning the evening with a 7-4 final score. As the crowd scented victory, Games mascots danced on the sidelines, grim-faced security men broke into smiles and a tiny infant with Indian flags pinned to its clothes was held up amid the throng for television cameras to admire. The Games endured six months of dire press coverage and critical public sentiment before the opening ceremony as the budget soared out of control, corruption claims multiplied and organisers appeared out of their depth. Spirits fell further when international athletes arrived to find accommodation unfinished and a litany of other problems big and small have continued to dog the Games. But on Sunday evening, India was enjoying itself at last.