Skipper Harmanpreet Singh and Varun Kumar scored two goals each as India thrashed China 7-2 to begin their Asian Champions Trophy hockey campaign on a winning note at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium here on Thursday. Harmanpreet (5th, 8th minutes) and Varun (19th, 30th) converted two penalty corners each for India, while Sukhjeet Singh (15th), Akashdeep Singh (16th) and Mandeep Singh (40th) were the other goal scorers.
China’s two goals came from the sticks of Wenhui E (18th) and Jiesheng Gao (25th). The Men in Blue were off to a resounding start in the opening quarter, as it took them just five minutes into the contest to earn a penalty corner, and skipper Harmanpreet made no mistake in successfully converting it. It did not too long for India to double the lead.
Three minutes later, it was another penalty corner and it yielded the same result through the same man, Harmanpreet.
Down by a couple of goals early into the tie, the Chinese players struggled to penetrate the Indian defence, as most of the action was taking place in the Chinese half.
At the stroke of the first quarter stoppage, India received another penalty corner. Varun’s initial flick was saved by the Chinese defence but Sukhjeet scored from the rebound.
With a 3-0 lead, India started the second quarter on on a confident note.
Just two minutes into the quarter, Akshdeep scored from an assist from Manpreet Singh as India went 4-0 up.
However, just a minute later, China broke free, with Varun failing to tackle an ariel ball, as Wenhui sent it past Indian goalkeeper Krishan Bahadur Pathak.
But the Chinese goal hardly had any impact as a minute later, Varun found the back of the net from a set piece.
It was not until the 25th minute that China received their first penalty corner.
While the initial one was unsuccessful, the resulting corner led to Gao firing it past Pathak.
At the stroke of half-time, it was yet another penalty corner for India, with Varun shooting it into the top-right corner, as the hosts moved into the break with a 6-2 advantage.
After the change of ends, things did not change for China.
Although China tried to up the ante, they gave away a couple of corners again, and the one in the 40th minute saw Amit Rohidas’s wide flick being angled in by Mandeep Singh for India’s seventh goal.
While the third quarter was a relatively quiet one, the final quarter was even quieter, as despite the two sides earning a few penalty corners, none could put the ball into the net.
India will play Japan next on Friday.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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