~ Goals by Gurjant Singh (7’), Akashdeep Singh (10’), Lalit Upadhyay (13’), Amit Rohidas (20’), Harmanpreet Singh (28’ and 47’), Ramandeep Singh (46’) ensure India remain on top of the points table ~
The Indian Men’s Hockey Team continued to dominate at the Hero Asia Cup 2017 as they won 7-0 against hosts Bangladesh in their Pool A match here at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium on Friday. It was goals by Gurjant Singh (7’), Akashdeep Singh (10’), Lalit Upadhyay (13’), Amit Rohidas (20’), Harmanpreet Singh (28’ and 47’), Ramandeep Singh (46’) that ensured India were on top of the pool table.
At the start though, backed by the boisterous home crowd, Bangladesh looked determined as they began with a good attack but a clinical performance from the Indian team gave them little opportunity to bring some cheer for their supporters who had turned up in large numbers.
India was on a goal-fest right from the start. First, it was Gurjant Singh who received a brilliant assist from Amit Rohidas on the right baseline which he simply had to nudge into the post to fetch India 1-0 lead in the 7th minute. Later, after having missed an open goal only seconds earlier, Akashdeep Singh was at ease when he worked a perfect pass from SV Sunil to put the ball past Bangladeshi goalkeeper Abu Nippon to double India’s lead in the 10th minute. Three minutes later, Lalit Upadhyay struck his second goal of the tournament when he put one past Abu Nippon as India went into the first break with a comfortable 3-0 lead.
Manpreet Singh led Indian team continued to build on their dominating start with impressive speed, tactically passing the ball in the midfield and worked some effortless moves to penetrate Bangladesh’s circle. A breakthrough came in the 20th minute when Gurjant Singh swiftly dribbled into the left flank to find Amit Rohidas perfectly poised in front of the post. Rohidas, with no real threat from Bangladesh defenders, struck the ball into the goal winning India a 4-0 lead. Only a minute later, India won four back-to-back PCs but Bangladeshi defenders denied Harmanpreet Singh a successful dragflick. However, in the 28th minute a deliberate stick-check in the circle by Bangladeshi defender saw them concede a penalty stroke. Harmanpreet made no mistake in converting it and take India’s lead to a formidable 5-0.
Two minutes into the third quarter, India won a PC but India’s young dragflicker Varun Kumar’s effort was padded away. India won back-to-back PCs the following minute but nothing came out of it. In the third quarter few of the opportunities created in the circle by India, was well-defended by Bangladeshi goalkeeper Nippon.
Having dominated with 70 per cent ball possession, India began the fourth quarter with a PC. A clever variation saw Varun softly flick the ball to injector Ramandeep Singh who deflected the ball into the goal earning India their sixth goal of the match. India won their 10th PC of the match within seconds and this time the umpire awarded another PC as Varun’s effort was obstructed by Bangladeshi defender. This time, Harmanpreet fiercely struck the ball to the top of the net to earn India a 7-0 lead. Good work in the circle by Varun and SV Sunil saw India win a PC with less than two minutes to go for the final hooter but Harmanpreet’s effort went too high up the post, ending the match with a 7-0 victory.
On October 15, India will take on Pakistan in their third Pool A match at 17.00 hours IST.