Indians rout lowly Oman

Nitin, Raghu, Rupinder sparkle

In front of a handful of spectators, India made merry against a lowly Oman to register a 9-1 victory in the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Wednesday night.

India, ranked 25 places above Oman, were expectedly superior but their opponents showed several times in the match that they were not mere pushovers. Despite conceding goals, Oman were irrepressible in their approach and raided the Indian circle several times. In one such attempt, Oman got a penalty corner and pulled one goal back.

Apart from that blip, it was India all through the match, scoring at will and trying out variations.

India again scored mainly through penalty corners with VR Raghunath (3rd and 40th minutes) and Rupinder Singh (14th, 38th) converting two apiece. Mandeep Singh (42nd) scored his first international goal to contribute along with Nitin Thimmaiah (16th, 60th), Dharamvir Singh (20th) and Gurjinder Singh (65th).

Raghunath flagged off the scoring in the early minutes and opened the floodgates. Minutes later, Rupinder doubled the lead with another penalty corner conversion before Nitin joined the party. On receiving a pass from Dharamvir, Nitin beat three defenders to enter the circle. Goalkeeper Fahad Khamis Al Noufali slid to stop him but a stumbling Nithin reverse-flicked to sound the board.

Dharamvir then swelled India’s tally to four when he dived to slot in after receiving an angled pass from Mandeep from the left. But Oman struck at the stroke of the breather to dilute India’s celebrations with a bitter drop. 

In the second half, Mandeep joined in before Nitin scored his second with a straight hit from the top of the circle. Gurjinder then completed the formality, scoring through another penalty corner conversion and India finished another easy outing.
“We won with a big margin today but we didn’t concentrate much on our structure. There was a time when nine of our players were in the Oman half. We can’t afford to do that against top teams of the world,” India coach Michael Nobbs said.

They now face their first real test on Thursday when they meet 15th-ranked Ireland, who thrashed Fiji 13-0 on the day.

DH News Service
Results: India: 9 (VR Raghunath 3rd, 40th, Rupinder Singh 14th, 38th, Nitin Thimmaiah 16th, 60th, Dharamvir Singh 20th, Mandeep Singh 42nd, Gurjinder Singh 65th) bt Oman: 1 (Mohamed Hubais Al Shar 35th); Ireland: 13 (Michael Darling 12th, Peter Brown 14th, Phelie Maguire 23rd, Christopher Cargo 31st, 55th, Eugene Magee 34th, Conor Harte 41st, 58th, Shane O’Donoghue 45th, Alan Sothern 60th, 64th, 66th, Geoffrey William McCabe 63rd) bt Fiji: 0; Bangladesh: 3 (Md Mamunur Rahman Chayan 5th, Md Moinul Islam 34th, Pushkor Khisa 50th) bt China 2 (Yubo Na 11th, Mi Ji 27th).

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