India continued their dominating show at the Hero Asia Cup as they thrashed hosts Bangladesh 7-0 in their Pool A match at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium here on Friday.
It was goals by Gurjant Singh (seventh minute), Akashdeep Singh (10th), Lalit Upadhyay (13th), Amit Rohidas (20th), Harmanpreet Singh (28th and 47th), Ramandeep Singh (46th) that ensured India were on top of the pool table.
At the start though, backed by a boisterous home crowd, Bangladesh looked determined as they began with a good attack but a clinical performance from the Indian team gave them little opportunity to bring some cheer to their supporters who had turned up in large numbers.
India were on a goal-fest right from the start. First it was Gurjant Singh who received a brilliant assist from Amit Rohidas on the right baseline which he simply had to nudge into the post to fetch India a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute.
Later, after having missed an open goal only seconds earlier, Akashdeep Singh was at ease when he worked a perfect pass from S.V. Sunil to put the ball past Bangladeshi goalkeeper Abu Nippon to double India’s lead in the 10th minute.
Three minutes later, Lalit Upadhyay struck his second goal of the tournament when he put one past Abu Nippon as India went into the first break with a comfortable 3-0 lead.
The Manpreet Singh-led Indian team continued to build on their dominating start with impressive speed, tactically passing the ball in the midfield and worked some effortless moves to penetrate Bangladesh’s circle.
A breakthrough came in the 20th minute when Gurjant Singh swiftly dribbled into the left flank to find Amit Rohidas perfectly poised in front of the post.
Rohidas, with no real threat from the Bangladesh defenders, struck the ball into the goal winning India a 4-0 lead.
Only a minute later, India won four back-to-back penalty corners but the Bangladeshi defenders denied Harmanpreet Singh a successful dragflick.
However, in the 28th minute a deliberate stick-check in the circle by a Bangladeshi defender saw them concede a penalty stroke. Harmanpreet made no mistake in converting it and take India’s lead to a formidable 5-0.
Two minutes into the third quarter, India won a penalty corner but India’s young dragflicker Varun Kumar’s effort was padded away.
India won back-to-back penalty corners the following minute but nothing came out of it. In the third quarter a few of the opportunities created in the circle by India, were well-defended by Bangladeshi goalkeeper Nippon.
Having dominated with 70 per cent ball possession, India began the fourth quarter with a penalty corner. A clever variation saw Varun softly flick the ball to injector Ramandeep Singh who deflected the ball into the goal earning India their sixth goal of the match.
India won their 10th penalty corner of the match within seconds and this time the umpire awarded another penalty corner as Varun’s effort was obstructed by Bangladeshi defenders.
This time, Harmanpreet fiercely struck the ball to the top of the net to earn India a 7-0 lead. Good work in the circle by Varun and Sunil saw India win a penalty corner with less than two minutes to go for the final hooter but Harmanpreet’s effort went too high up the post, ending the match with a 7-0 victory.
India will take on Pakistan in their third Pool A match on Sunday.