Dhaka (Bangladesh), 13 October, 2017: The Indian Men’s Hockey Team continued to dominate at the Hero Asia Cup 2017 as they won 7-0 against hosts Bangladesh in their Pool A match here at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium on Friday. It was goals by Gurjant Singh (7′), Akashdeep Singh (10′), Lalit Upadhyay (13′), Amit Rohidas (20′), Harmanpreet Singh (28′ and 47′), Ramandeep Singh (46′) that ensured India were on top of the pool table.
At the start though, backed by boisterous home crowd, Bangladesh looked determined as they began with good attack but a clinical performance from the Indian team gave them little opportunity to bring some cheer for their supporters who had turned up in large numbers.
India were on a goal-fest right from the start. First it was Gurjant Singh who received a brilliant assist from Amit Rohidas on the right baseline which he simply had to nudge into the post to fetch India 1-0 lead in the 7th minute. Later, after having missed an open goal only seconds earlier, Akashdeep Singh was at ease when he worked a perfect pass from SV Sunil to put the ball past Bangladeshi goal keeper Abu Nippon to double India’s lead in the 10th minute. Three minutes later, Lalit Upadhyay struck his second goal of the tournament when he put one past Abu Nippon as India went into the first break with a comfortable 3-0 lead.
Manpreet Singh led Indian team continued to build on their dominating start with impressive speed, tactically passing the ball in the midfield and worked some effortless moves to penetrate Bangladesh’s circle. A breakthrough came in the 20th minute when Gurjant Singh swiftly dribbled into the left flank to find Amit Rohidas perfectly poised in front of the post. Rohidas, with no real threat from Bangladesh defenders, struck the ball into the goal winning India a 4-0 lead. Only a minute later, India won four back-to-back PCs but Bangladeshi defenders denied Harmanpreet Singh a successful dragflick. However, in the 28th minute a deliberate stick-check in the circle on Bangladesh defender’s part saw them concede a penalty stroke. Harmanpreet made no mistake in converting it and take India’s lead to a formidable 5-0.
Two minutes into the third quarter, India won a PC but India’s young dragflicker Varun Kumar’s effort was padded away. India won back-to-back PCs the following minute but nothing came out of it. India seemed to slow their pace just a little bit in the third quarter while few of the opportunities created in the circle was well-defended by Bangladeshi goalkeeper Nippon.
Having dominated with 70 per cent ball possession, India began the fourth quarter with a PC. A clever variation saw Varun softly flick the ball to injector Ramandeep Singh who deflected the ball into the goal earning India their sixth goal of the match. India won their 10th PC of the match within seconds and this time the umpire awarded another PC as Varun’s effort was obstructed by Bangladeshi defender. This time, Harmanpreet fiercely struck the ball to the top of the net to earn India a 7-0 lead. Good work in the circle by Varun and SV Sunil saw India win a PC with less than two minutes to go for the final hooter but Harmanpreet’s effort went too high up the post, ending the match with a 7-0 victory.
Comments from Post Match Press Conference:
An evidently disappointed Rashel Mahmud admitted that the Indian team was far superior for his team. “The Indian team had better individual skill and their strategies were good which helped them take an early lead. Though we restricted them in the third quarter with better defence, it was not sufficient to challenge them. But our goalkeeper did well today and saved some good goals. Our last match is against Japan and we will give our best against them.”
Meanwhile skipper of the Indian team Manpreet Singh said, “Bangladesh were good with their penalty corner defending and saved quite a few PCs. For us, we just wanted to focus on our game plan and make sure we got a good start. Our forwardline played well and created quite a few opportunities in the circle and that’s a big positive from this match.”
Goal of the Game Award was awarded to Harmanpreet Singh and was presented by Mr Shahazada Basunia (Head of Public Affairs & Brand Communication, First Security Islami Bank)
HERO of the Match Award was given to Akashdeep Singh of India and was presented by Abdus Sadeque (General Secretary Bangladesh Hockey Federation).
The dignitaries were accompanied by Tayyab Ikram, Chief Executive ( AHF)
Next Pakistan play India on Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 17.30 hrs local time while Japan will face hosts Bangladesh on the same day at 15.00hrs local time.