Diwakar leads from the front as India run rings around Singapore

Skipper Diwakar Ram pumped in four goals to lead India to a 10-0 demolition of co-hosts Singapore in their opening Group D encounter in the Junior World Cup hockey tournament at the Seng Kang Sports and Recreation Centre here on Monday.

India, the dark horses in the 20-team tournament, pounded on Singapore with relentless forays right from the start.

Diwakar (15th min, 18th, 29th, 66th) converted four penalty corners. Striker Danish Mujtaba (5th, 51st, 55th), slotted three goals while Dharamveer Singh (26th), Mandeep Antil (29th) and Vivek (47th) scored one each.

India earned two penalty corners with their first move of the match but squandered both. Mujtaba then gave the finishing touches to a fast move through the right flank to open the floodgates.

Drag-flick expert Diwakar struck two quick goals in a span of three minutes, converting the third and fourth penalty corners and India had a 3-0 cushion by the 18th minute.
The forwardline kept the pressure on the host defence and Dharamveer scored through one such move. Dharamveer trapped the ball from Manjit Kullu near the centre of the circle and scooped the ball inside the goalpost.

India then struck twice in the 29th minute, Diwakar converting the fifth penalty corner and Antil taking advantage of a goalmouth meelee to sneak one past goalkeeper Foo Brian.
The writing was on the wall when the teams went to the break with India leading 6-0.
The second half saw India continue with the same intensity, but the forwards missed a few close chances and Diwakar wasted two short corners.

After a brief lull, Antil brilliantly dodged a host of defenders from the right flank and gave a timely pass to Vivek, who tapped the ball in in the 47 minute.

Mujtaba then scored two more goals, one off a penalty corner to swell the lead to 9-0. Diwakar converted India’s 10th penalty corner to make it 10-0. India will take on New Zealand on Tuesday in their second encounter.

In other matches played on Tuesday, the second day of the competition, there were emphatic wins for Spain and Argentina.

While the Spaniards drubbed USA 9-0, Argentina got the better of Russia 9-3 in a high-scoring contest.

IANS

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