Asiad hockey: Indian men put record 17 past Indonesia

India bettered its own record at the Asian Games. The previous highest margin for the country was 12-0, against Iran in 1974 and Bangladesh in 1982.

The Indian players celebrate a goal during the men's Pool A match against Indonesia in Jakarta on August 20.   -  AFP

Competition in Asian hockey might not be exceptional, but, even by its limited standards, a 17-0 walloping is unheard of in the tournament.

The Indian men did just that to hapless host Indonesia in Jakarta on Monday to open their account in the competition in style, bettering their own record at the Asian Games in the progress. The previous highest margin for the country was 12-0, against Iran in 1974 and Bangladesh in 1982.

The goal fest started in the first minute of the game and continued till the end. In between, coach Harendra Singh experimented with his plans and personnel and ensured everyone got enough play time to get a feel of the turf. The experimenting saw Sardar Singh playing much ahead in the attack and creating chances while the two central midfielders Manpreet Singh and Vivek Prasad held back. It may all change in the coming games, though, when the competition will get tougher.

“We have now played two games on this turf and the boys have a fair idea about the pitch, it’s speed and how to play the ball around. For me every game means three points for a win, scoreline doesn’t matter. I wasn’t looking at the number of goals but the way the team performed out there,” he said.

He did not have much to look at, though, at least not in terms of defence. The Indonesians hardly managed to get the ball into Indian 25-yard area – on the rare occasion that they managed to get possession. India converted six of its nine penalty corners. Youngsters Dilpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh and Simranjeet Singh scored thrice each, the last being impressive with a 100 per cent conversion rate – scoring in each of his three attempts at goal.

Rupinder Pal Singh scored twice while Harmanpreet Singh, Lalit Upadhyay, S. V. Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Amit Rohidas and Vivek scored one apiece.

Next up for India is Hong Kong on Wednesday.

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