Muscat, October 18: Young striker Dilpreet Singh scored a hat trick as India started their campaign of the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018 title with a victory over hosts Oman at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex.
India opened the scoring through Lalit Upadhyay’s goal in open play in the 17th minute. Three more goals followed in the second quarter as Harmanpreet Singh (22nd minute) sounded the board with a low drag-flick, followed by Nilakanta Sharma (23rd minute) flicking in during a goalmouth scrimmage and Mandeep Singh (30th minute) capitalising on a pass from the right flank.
In the second half, India displayed phenomenal phases of hockey as Dilpreet scored three goals (41st, 55th and 57th minute) and was adjudged Man of the Match, while Gurjant Singh (37th minute), Akashdeep Singh (27th minute), Varun Kumar (49th minute) and Chinglensana Singh (53rd minute) made entries on the score-sheet.
Dilpreet credited his goals to the support of his teammates. “It was not just an individual effort. My teammates created the openings for me to score the goals,” he said.
Indian coach Harendra Singh said. “We are happy to start in this manner, but tougher competition is ahead of us,” said Harendra. “I am not happy at the manner in which we played the first quarter. We have a lot of work to do.”
Oman team’s coach Tahir Zaman said he expected India to go all out, but was upset at the errors by his defenders. “We gave away four or five goals that should not have been there,” said Zaman, a former Pakistan captain. “We were playing against Asia’s highest-ranked team. Our target was to sustain and absorb the pressure that was expected from India,” said Zaman.
“Despite the highly skilled opponents, our team did well to create some scoring opportunities in the first quarter,” he said. “We need to learn from the mistakes and stay competitive in the tournament,” Zaman said