Hangzhou, Sep 24 (IANS) Indian Men’s Hockey Team started their campaign at the 19th Asian Games with a massive 16-0 win over Uzbekistan in Pool A match here on Sunday.
Varun Kumar (12′, 36′, 50′, 52′) scored four goals, while Lalit Kumar Upadhyay (7′, 24′, 53′), and Mandeep Singh (18′, 27′, 28′) scored hat-tricks each. Sukhjeet Singh (37′, 42′) scored a brace, while Abhishek (17′), Amit Rohidas (38′), Shamsher Singh (43′), and Sanjay (57′) scored a goal each for India.
India began on the front foot straightaway building dangerous moves from the right flank to trouble Uzbekistan’s defence. With Uzbeks defending in numbers, India started searching for gaps to penetrate the circle. Lalit Kumar Upadhyay (7′) broke the resistance with a reverse hit into the back of the nets and put India ahead.
With long passes from Jarmanpreet Singh, India kept launching counter-attacks, and Varun Kumar (12′) struck the nets from a Penalty Corner to give India a 2-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Mandeep dribbled past Uzbek defenders and passed the ball to Abhishek (17′) in the circle, who spun and struck the ball into the nets to extend India’s lead to 3-0. In the next minute, Mandeep (18′) found himself in a 1v1 situation against Uzbekistan goalkeeper and easily put the ball into the nets to make it 4-0.
A quick start from a long corner led to Lalit (24′) scoring his second goal of the match with another reverse hit. Late in the second quarter, Mandeep (27′, 28′) tapped the ball into the nets after a pass from Gurjant Singh and completed his hat-trick a minute later after getting another goal from a Penalty Corner. India reached halftime with a massive 7-0 lead.
Relentless India continued to build pressure at the start of the second half. Varun (36′) struck his second goal of the match from a penalty stroke and India went ahead 8-0 lead. Uzbekistan left Sukhjeet (37′) unmarked, who picked up a pass from Lalit and converted it into another goal to make it 9-0.
A minute later, Rohidas (38′) struck a powerful hit into the nets from a penalty corner and India went up 10-0. Abhishek picked up an aerial pass inside the circle and passed it to Sukhjeet (42′) who deflected it into the nets. The next minute, Shamsher (43′) earned his first goal of the match in a similar fashion, making it 12-0 for India by the end of the third quarter.
Uzbekistan sat deep inside their own half at the start of the final quarter to prevent any more goals. India continued their dominance in attack and Varun (50′, 52′) converted back-to-back penalty corners to make it 14-0. The goal-fest continued with Lalit (53′) adding another goal to his name from a close distance and India went 15-0 up.
A late Penalty Corner was converted by Sanjay (57′), who scored his first goal of the match, and India won the encounter 16-0.
India will next play Singapore on Tuesday in their second group-stage A match.