India blank Bangladesh 6-0 in hockey opener
Doha, Dec 4 (UNI) Skipper Dilip Tirkey slammed three goals as India handed a 6-0 drubbing to minnows Bangladesh in their inaugural pool B hockey league match at the 15th Asian Games here today.
For India, who led 4-0 at half time, Tirkey struck in the third, 24th and 33rd minutes, getting goals following penalty corners.
Shivendra Singh (29th), V Raghunath (43rd) and Adam Sinclair (30th) chipped in a goal each.
Though not much of a force to reckon with, Bangladesh still were expected to give India a good fight given their track record in SAF Games but it turned out to be a surprisingly easy picking for the two-time champions.
The Indians displayed some good hockey and coach V Bhaskaran utilised all the players from the bench to get them used to the turf. Only goalkeeper Bharat Chettri was not changed.
The Indians forced seven penalty corners and got goals from first four and in the process, young drag flicker V Ragunath also earned his first international goal at this level of tnternational competition when he converted the fourth penalty corner.
India raced to a lead in the third minute of the game when they forced the first penalty corner and Tirkey's shot found the target.
After that, they took another 21 minutes to get their second goal and this time again, the skipper found the target off a penalty corner (2-0).
The Indians increased the pace and pressure to pump in two more goals before the break with Shivendra Singh making it 3-0 in the 29th minute when he dribbled past three defenders and beat the onrushing goalkeeper with a superb reverse shot.
And two minutes before the lemon break, Tirkey was again bang on target when he scored following a melee after the third penalty corner (4-0).
Having secured a healthy 4-0 lead in the first session, the Indians tended to over dribble and played extravagant hockey though there was no need for it. They tried to play to the galleries by displaying excessive dribbling and stickwork and wasted some time in this heroics.
The Bangladesh team looked disjointed and played very defensive game and that enabled India to earn the penalty corners. Indian strikers Adam Sinclair, Shivendra Singh and Hari Prasad displayed their wares and made some good attacks but found it tough to get past the beefed up rival defence.
The fifth goal for the Indians came in the 43rd minute when Raghunath converted the fourth penalty corner. And in the 54th minute, Adam Sinclair found the target to complete the tally.
Indiam central midfielders Arjun Halappa and Ignace Tirkey played well, Halappa in particular displayed good thrust, anticipation and distributed the ball well.
Ajmer Singh also looked good so was Gurbaj, while Tushar Khandekar was, as usual, hardworking upfront.
Bangladeshi midfielders committed many unforced errors while the forwards lacked punch. They made a few stray attacks which were aborted midway before they could become any threat.
The Indian coach was satisfsfied with the team's display.
''We rotated the players and everybody was given the chance to get used to the turf. It is good to start the tournament with satisfying margin of victory,'' he said.
He, however, warned against any sort of over-confidence and said, ''It is a good start but we have tough battles ahead and we can not get complacent.'' Earlier in the opening pool B match, China overpowered Oman 6-1.
UNI HSB AY ND1700