The Indian men’s hockey team thumped Uzbekistan 16-0 in its opening Asian Games 2023 Pool A match at the Gongshu Canal Sports Park Stadium here on Sunday.
In the commanding win, Lalit Upadhyay scored in 7th, 24th, 37th and 53rd minute, while Varun Kumar did it in 12th, 36th, 50th, and 52nd minute, Abhishek (17’), Mandeep Singh (18’, 27’, 28’) Amit Rohidas (38’), Sukhjeet (42’), Shamsher Singh (43’) and Sanjay (57’).
With this victory, three-time Asian Games champions India climbed to the top of the Asian Games 2023 men’s hockey Pool A standings. The top two from each pool will make to 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 title win last month.
India, despite starting without captain Harmanpreet Singh, went on the offensive right from the start forcing world No. 66 Uzbekistan to defend deep. India’s constant pressure on Uzbekistan’s goal yielded results immediately.
Seven minutes into the match, Lalit Upadhyay beat the Uzbek goalkeeper 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 dominating play in the second quarter as well and scored two quick field goals through Abhishek and Mandeep Singh. Lalit Upadhyay scored his second and team’s fifth goal from a close range.
Mandeep Singh then netted two goals in two minutes to notch up his hat-trick as India took a commanding 7-0 lead into half-time.
After the break, a relentless India added nine more goals to the tally and completed a 16-0 rout.
The Indian men’s hockey team will play Singapore next 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.
(With UNI inputs)