Jakarta: The Indian Men’s Hockey team began their title defense at the 18th Asian Games 2018 by mauling hosts Indonesia 17-0 in the first Pool A match here on Monday.
Three Indian players, Dilpreet Singh (7′, 30′, 32′), Simranjeet Singh (13′, 38′, 53′) and Mandeep Singh (30′, 45′, 49′) ended up scoring hattricks, with Rupinder Pal Singh (1′, 3′), Akashdeep Singh (10′), SV Sunil (25′), Vivek Sagar Prasad (27′), Harmanpreet Singh (31′), Lalit Upadhyay (45′) and Amit Rohidas (54′) supplying the remaining eight.
It was men against boys on the pitch as the Indian forwards showcased top form and rendered the Indonesian defence clueless, with the P. R. Sreejesh-led squad demonstrated different variations to score goals.
The team recorded 43 per cent conversion rate as they scored out of 10 of the 28 field goal attempts and also converted six of the 11 penalty corners (PC), with a solitary penalty stroke accounting for one goal.
Chief Coach Harendra Singh revelled in the team’s victory in his post-match comments, saying, “This was exactly the kind of start we were looking for. We were not chasing any record of winning by maximum goals but a 17-0 margin in the first match instills confidence especially for the youngsters. The idea was to use different scoring combinations which we had worked on during the National Camp and I am happy with the way the team executed.”
India built on a strong start with impeccable teamwork, playing to structure and showing immense discipline in their passing and execution backed by good speed and technique.
One of the finest goals of the match came through a splendid combination work between experienced players Sardar Singh and SV Sunil in the 25th minute. A swift pass after fiercely charging into the top of the striking circle by ball carrier Sunil, saw Sardar infuse magic with his dribble past Indonesian defenders to pass it back to Sunil who simply deflected it into the goal had the Jakarta. It was the hand-eye-coordination between the two stalwarts that was awe-inspiring.
The 17-0 win is India’s best record at the Asian Games with their previous best being the 12-0 win against Bangladesh in 1982.
On August 22, the Indian Men’s Hockey Team will play their second Pool A match against Hong Kong, China.
Meanwhile, The Indian Women’s Hockey Team who beat Indonesia in their first match will take on Kazakhstan in their second Pool B match.