The Indian Men’s Hockey Team kick-started their Asian Champions Trophy with a thumping 7-2 win against China in Hockey’s homecoming to Chennai. The Indians were simply outstanding as they scored goals at regular intervals. Harmanpreet and Varun Kumar scored braces while Sukhjeet Singh, Akashdeep Singh and Mandeep Singh also found the net. Mandeep scored his 100th international goal for India.
India started brilliantly in front of a packed crowd at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium in Egmore. The hosts came up with some vicious attacks which demolished the Chinese defence in the first quarter. India’s skipper Harmanpreet Singh gave India the early lead as he scored in the 5th and the 8th minute, giving China no time to think and adapt. India went 2-0 up within the first eight minutes.
Craig Fulton’s team continued the onslaught as India earned a penalty corner in the 15th minute. While Harmanpreet’s effort was blocked, Sukhjeet Singh was alert to collect the rebound and slot it home. The fourth goal also came quickly as Akashdeep Singh ventured forward and then unleashed the tomahawk, beating the Chinese defenders.
But an error in judgement from Varun Kumar allowed China to counterattack and earn their first goal of the game through E. Wenhui. However, Varun Kumar redeemed himself by scoring in the following minute from a penalty corner to extend India’s lead to four goals again.
But China did play well in patches and did catch India off guard. They scored their second goal through a penalty corner as Jiesheng Gao was able to beat the Indian defence to score their second goal.
But it was Varun again who scored India’sixth goal right before half-time to lift the morale of the Indian team.
China played a lot better in the second half mostly because of the two goals that they scored against the hosts. They showed more composure in their defence in the second half. But the damage was already done in the first half. However, it took India some time to create their first clear-cut opportunity and it was Mandeep Singh who scored the seventh goal. Notably, it was the striker’s 100th International goal for India.
The hosts were looking for more goals in the final quarter but China held their lines very well and did not allow India to extend their scoreline any further. India did create a penalty corner late in the game but the Chinese goalkeeper Caiyu Wang did well to keep out the opportunity.