Jakarta: Defending champions India started their title defence with 17-0 rout of hosts Indonesia in a Group A contest at the Asian Games as arch rivals Pakistan also made a flying start with a 10-0 win over Thailand on Monday.
The hosts were simply no match against India and were forced to be on their defensive right from the start. Such was the dominance from the India that Indonesian players only managed to reach the rival circle a couple of times. India lead 9-0 at the break.
Dilpreet Singh, Simranjeet Singh, Mandeep Singh scored hat-trick each while Rupinder Pal Singh had a brace against his name. The tally for the winners were completed by Akashdeep Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadyay, Sunil, Amit Rohidas and Vivek Sagar with a goal apiece. India now meet Hong Kong China on Wednesday.
Pakistan rode on a hat-trick by Atiq Arshad to pummel Thailand at the Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) Sports Complex. At half-time the green brigade, who have won the title a record eight times, led 4-0.
Apart from Atiq’s three, his brother Tauseeq Arshad, and Mohammad Irfan and Abu Bakr all scored a brace each while Mubashar Ali completed the tally for the winners.
Pakistan opened their account in the last minute of the first quarter through a penalty corner conversion by Tauseeq. Three more goals were added in the second quarter and they were all over their opponent in the second half.
“It was a clinical performance but there is still a long way to go,” said Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Butt, who returned with a clean sheet.
“It was the start what we were looking for. We managed to go about our plans well and did exactly what the coach had expected us to do. Most of the key players getting into the scoring act was also important and that we managed,” added Butt, who rated their next opponent Oman, who they meet on Wednesday also highly.
“You just cannot take any team lightly and that’s what we are going to do. Play hard and keep building on the momentum. There are lot of tough matches ahead and one cannot afford to lax. We will be going all out against Oman and play our style of hockey,” said Butt.