The Indian men’s hockey team secured a 16-0 victory against the Uzbekistan side in its opening Asian Games fixture at the Gongshu Canal Sports Park Stadium in Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China.
Eight of India’s players contributed to the final scoreline with Lalit Upadhyay and Varun Kumar scoring four goals each and Manish netting thrice. With the win, the three-time Asian Games champions climbed to the top of the Pool A standings. The top two from each pool will make the semifinals.
Being third in the FIH Rankings, the Indian hockey team came into the Hangzhou Games full of confidence, after having won the Asian Champions Trophy last month.
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Even with the absence of its captain Harmanpreet Singh, India went on the offensive right from the start making world No. 66 Uzbekistan defend deep.
India’s aggressive play and constant pressure from the start helped it open the scoring in just seven minutes into the match. Lalit breached Uzbekistan’s defense from a penalty corner to make it 1-0 for India. Minutes later, Varun doubled India’s lead from another penalty corner.
India was leading 2-0 by the end of the first quarter and it continued to dominate the play in the second quarter as well scoring two quick field goals through Abhishek and Mandeep Singh. Lalit’s second goal and Mandeep’s two goals in quick succession took India on a 7-0 lead at halftime.
India didn’t drop its relentless nature even after the break and scored nine more goals to complete a 16-0 commanding win. The Indian men’s hockey team will play Singapore in the next game on Tuesday.
Indian men’s hockey team will be eyeing to win the Asian Games tournament and secure a berth for the Paris Olympics.
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