India blank Malaysia 6-0

Sakal Times
Sunday, 18 August 2019

The Indians had the upper hand in the first quarter as the experienced SV Sunil, Mandeep Singh and Gursahibjit Singh, all created chances inside the first 10 minutes. Mandeep looked in good rhythm as he took two shots at Malaysian goalkeeper Kumar Subramiam’s goal. 

Tokyo: Indian men and women hockey teams began their quest on a high note on Saturday after the women’s team registered a convincing 2-1 win over Japan in their opening match of the Olympic Test Event, and this followed men beating Malaysia 6-0 in their opening encounter of the tournament held at the Oi Hockey Stadium.

Forwards Mandeep Singh (33rd, 46th) and Gursahibjit Singh (18th, 56th) scored a brace each for India, while Gurinder Singh (8th) and SV Sunil (60th) also scored.

The Indians had the upper hand in the first quarter as the experienced SV Sunil, Mandeep Singh and Gursahibjit Singh, all created chances inside the first 10 minutes. Mandeep looked in good rhythm as he took two shots at Malaysian goalkeeper Kumar Subramiam’s goal. 

It was in the eighth minute that India earned themselves their first penalty corner (PC) of the match, which was converted by Gurinder to give his team the lead. The following minutes saw India dominate their fellow Asian opponents, and win as many as four PCs through some great attacking play.

First it was debutant Ashis Kumar Topno, then Nilam Sanjeep Xess and Vivek Kumar Prasad also won PCs.

Good work by the first rushers, and a couple of good saves by Kumar meant that India could only manage one goal early on.

However, the start of the second quarter saw India continue from where they had left off, and score in the 18th minute through forward Gursahibjit Singh, who was found inside the striking circle by Gurjant Singh to make it 2-0 in India’s favour. 

World No. 12 Malaysia also forced Indian goalkeeper Suraj Karkera to make a couple of fine saves in the next few minutes, but could not pull a goal back before the half-time break.

The Indians continued to attack the Malaysians at the start of the third quarter, and it was vice-captain Mandeep Singh who registered his name on the score-sheet in the 33rd minute after Jaskaran Singh set him up well through some creative play.

However, on the other end of the pitch, Malaysia were awarded a PC just two minutes later, but could only force it wide off the post. India had some more opportunities towards the end of the third quarter as captain Harmanpreet Singh and SV Sunil saw their shots going wide off the post.

The last quarter saw India put more pressure and score three more goals for a very convincing victory. It was in the 46th minute, that Mandeep scored his second goal of the match. 

A Malaysian PC was well-defended by the World No. 5 team, and converted into an attack which was finished off by Singh to make it 4-0. With the majority of the attacks coming from the Indian team, the fifth and sixth goals were also around the horizon and finally came in the 56th and 60th minutes as Gursahibjit and SV Sunil scored. 

India will now face World No. 8 New Zealand.

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