India hand out record hockey rout of Hong Kong

India hand out record hockey rout of Hong Kong

India's SV Sunil (second from left) celebrates with team-mates after scoring against Hong Kong in their men's hockey pool A match on Wednesday. AFP

This match was for the statistically inclined, for it was a festival of goals at the Asian Games on Wednesday. India, playing their second match, hammered Hong Kong China 26-0 to record their biggest win in international hockey.

As they peppered the Hong Kong China goal relentlessly, a mark that was set 86 years ago came crashing down. In the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, India had beaten the United States 24-1 and it was their biggest win till this day.

Harmanpreet Singh slammed in four goals while Rupinder Pal Singh netted five and Akashdeep Singh three. Manpreet Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, and Varun Kumar netted two times. Dilpreet, Surender Kumar, Simranjeet Singh, Mandeep Singh, S V Sunil, Chinglensana Singh, Amit Rohidas and Vivek Sagar Prasad too joined in the party with one goal apiece.

India had beaten Indonesia 17-0 in their first match and now they are on top of the standings in Pool A with six points and a massive goal difference.

Indian coach Harendra Singh said he treated the first two games as practice ties. “Records are meant to be broken but for us, the real tournament will start the day after,” he said, referring to the match against Japan. “It was important for all the players to find their rhythm, get the combination and scoring right. The aim was to score as many goals as possible. We need to get sharper in the following matches, play with fewer errors” he said.

India started the goal rush in the second minute with Upadhyay dribbling up and drilling the ball forward for Akashdeep Singh in the second minute. In no time, it was 2-0 with Manpreet finding the mark. Rupinder flicked in the third goal in the third minute as India continued to build on their express start. It was 6-0 at the end of the first quarter and 15-0 at the end of the second. The last two quarters produced 11 more goals.

India’s goalkeepers, P R Sreejesh first and then Krishan Bahadur Pathak didn’t have to make a single save and the defending champions played without a goalkeeper in the last seven minutes.

Hong Kong China sensed a chance to get on to the score board when a penalty corner was awarded to them with India having no goalkeeper, with a little over two minutes left. But on referral, that was cancelled and they trooped out dejected.