Jakarta, Aug 28 (IANS) The Indian men’s hockey team secured a semi-final berth after registering an emphatic 20-0 victory over Sri Lanka in their fifth and final Pool A game at the 2018 Asian Games here on Tuesday.
India’s striker Akashdeep Singh scored six goals, while Rupinder Pal Singh, Harmanpreet Singh and Mandeep Singh struck thrice each.
Lalit Kumar Upadhyay netted two goals while Vivek Sagar Prasad, Amit Rohidas and Dilpreet Singh scored one each.
It was Rupinder Pal Singh who opened the scoring for India as he struck the ball towards the right of the Sri Lankan goalkeeper TKH Hendeniya Mudiyanselage.
The Indian team won a penalty corner in the 5th minute and Harmanpreet struck the ball towards the goalkeeper’s left, beating the Sri Lankan to give India a 2-0 lead.
Another penalty corner in the next minute meant that Amit Rohidas was denied from the spot by the first Sri Lankan rusher. In the 10th minute, Striker Akashdeep Singh also registered his name on the scoresheet as he took advantage of the inability of the Sri Lankan defence to clear the ball, putting the ball past the goalkeeper from close range to make it 3-0 in India’s favour.
The same minute saw Rupinder being denied by the Sri Lankan goalkeeper as his shot towards the right corner was palmed away.
However, Sri Lanka conceded a fourth goal in the 11th minute as Akashdeep found himself in possession again and pushed the ball between the goalkeeper’s legs from close range to score his second goal of the match.
Even though the Indian team had more openings towards the closing stages of the first quarter, they ended the period with a four-goal lead.
The beginning of the second quarter saw Akashdeep complete his hat-trick in the 18th minute as he deflected Mandeep’s pass from the left flank into the back of the net. Two minutes later, Varun Kumar was denied a scoring chance as his drag-flick resulting from a penalty corner was saved by the Sri Lankan goalkeeper.
India’s dominance saw them win another penalty corner in the 21st minute, which was well-converted by Harmanpreet to extend India’s lead to six goals.
Akashdeep continued his fine scoring form as he struck a fierce half-volley from the centre of the circle to make it 7-0 after some patient build-up play by the Indian forward-line.
India had several chances in the latter stages of the second period but could only take a 7-goal lead into the half-time break.
Youngster Vivek also registered his name on the scoresheet in the 32nd minute as he produced a slick deflection off Akashdeep’s quick pass in front of the Sri Lankan goal. India scored their ninth goal of the match in the same minute as Akashdeep turned scorer this time, flicking Lalit Upadhyay’s pass past the Sri Lankan goalkeeper.
India’s constant attacking play saw them add a 10th goal in the 33rd minute as Harmanpreet completed his hat-trick with a well executed penalty corner. Mandeep Singh also joined the scoring as he positioned himself in front of the goal to cleverly deflect Harmanpreet Singh’s drag-flick into the Sri Lankan goal.
The 38th minute saw Amit score from a penalty corner as his vicious shot couldn’t be stopped by the Sri Lankan goalkeeper. India displayed their dominance as they scored two more goals in the third quarter which were scored by Akashdeep and Mandeep respectively.
India had their fair share of chances in the fourth quarter but seemed to have taken their foot off the gas.
However, two back-to-back penalty corners in the 52nd minute saw Rupinder score from the spot to make it 15-0 in India’s favour. The ace drag-flicker was in action again in the next minute as he struck another fierce stroke towards the top right corner to make it 16-0.
The 53rd minute saw Rupinder turn provider as his pass into the striking circle saw Dilpreet score off a backhand stroke to extend India’s lead further to seventeen goals.
The closing stages of the match saw India score three goals in two minutes as Lalit Kumar Upadhyay scored the 18th and 19th goals, while Mandeep completed his hat-trick of goals as he scored India’s 20th goal in the 59th minute.
India will now face Malaysia in the semi-final on Thursday.