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Indian men's hockey team crushes Uzbekistan with stunning 16-0 victory in Asian Games opener
Hangzhou: The Indian men's hockey team dominated Uzbekistan in their opening Asian match at the Gongshu Canal Sports Park Stadium in Hangzhou, People's Republic of China, securing a resounding 16-0 victory, on Sunday.
For India, Lalit Upadhyay (7’, 24’ 37’, 53’), Varun Kumar (12’, 36’, 50’, 51’), Abhishek (17’), Mandeep Singh (18’, 27’, 28’) Amit Rohidas (38’), Sukhjeet (42’), Shamsher Singh (43’) and Sanjay (57’) scored in the commanding win.
Three hat-tricks and eight different scorers marked a memorable victory, with this the three-time Asian Games champions climbed to the top of the Asian Games 2023 men’s hockey Pool A standings. The top two from each pool will make the semi-finals.
India's men's hockey team, third in the FIH Rankings, came into the Hangzhou Games on the back of their Asian Champions Trophy triumph last month.
Even with the absence of their captain Harmanpreet Singh, India went on the offensive right from the start making world No. 66 Uzbekistan to defend deep. India’s constant pressure on Uzbekistan’s goal started to yield results immediately.
Seven minutes into the match, Lalit Upadhyay breached Uzbekistan's defence from a penalty corner to make it 1-0 for India. Minutes later, Varun Kumar doubled India’s lead from another penalty corner. The first quarter ended with the scoreboard reading 2-0 in India’s favour.
India continued to dominate the play in the second quarter as well and scored two quick field goals through Abhishek and Mandeep Singh. Lalit Upadhyay scored his second and the team’s fifth goal from a close range.
Mandeep Singh then struck twice in two minutes to bag his hat-trick as India took a commanding 7-0 lead into half-time.
After the break, India didn't drop their relentless nature and added nine more goals to the tally and completed a 16-0 rout.
The Indian men’s hockey team will play Singapore in the next game on Tuesday.
The men’s hockey tournament at the Asian Games 2023 is also an Olympic qualifier with the eventual champion securing a berth to Paris 2024.