Asian Games Hockey: India’s men team rout Uzbekistan

The India men’s hockey team started their campaign at the 19th Asian Games with a massive 16-0 win over Uzbekistan in Pool A match in Hangzhou on Sunday.

Varun Kumar scored four goals, while Lalit Kumar Upadhyay and Mandeep Singh bagged a hat-trick each as India dominated their opening match. Sukhjeet Singh scored two goals, while Abhishek, Amit Rohidas, Shamsher Singh, and Sanjay 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 (7th minute) 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 struck in the 12th minute from a penalty corner to give India a 2-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Early in the second quarter, Mandeep Singh dribbled past Uzbek defenders and passed the ball to Abhishek 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 Singh found himself in a one-on-one 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 scoring his second goal of the match with another reverse hit.

Late in the second quarter, Mandeep tapped the ball into the nets after a pass from Gurjant Singh in the 27th minute and completed his hat-trick a minute later after getting another goal from a Penalty Corner to give India a massive 7-0 lead at halftime.

Relentless India continued to build pressure at the start of the second half. Varun struck his second goal of the match from a penalty stroke.

The goals continued to pour for the Indians as Uzbekistan left Sukhjeet Singh unmarked, who picked up a pass from Lalit and converted it into another goal to make it 9-0. A minute later, Amit Rohidas struck a powerful hit into the nets from a penalty corner and India went up 10-0.

There was no stopping the Indians as Abhishek picked up an aerial pass inside the circle and passed it to Sukhjeet, who deflected it into the nets. A minute later, Shamsher Singh 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 converted back-to-back penalty corners to make it 14-0.

The goal-fest continued with Lalit adding another goal to his name from a close distance and India went 15-0 up.

A late penalty corner was converted by Sanjay, who scored his first goal of the match and India’s 16th of the match.

India will next take on Singapore on Tuesday, September 26.

Schedule of the India men’s hockey team:

September 26: India Vs Singapore at 0630 hrs IST

September 28: India Vs Japan at 1815 hrs IST

September 30: India Vs Pakistan at 1815 hrs IST

October 2. India Vs Bangladesh at 1315 hrs IST

Where to watch: The matches will be broadcast live on Sony Sports Network and streamed live on Sony Liv.

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