Jakarta: It’s raining goals in the men’s field hockey league matches at the 18th Asian Games and some of the minnows of the sport are on the receiving end.
Defending champions India rewrote history by breaking the 86-year-old all-time highest goal scoring record by crushing Hong Kong 26-0 in a league match.
As the scoreboard suggests, eight-time Olympic champions India simply toyed with their rivals from the start of their Pool A fixture at the GBK Hockey Field.
Defending champions India had routed hosts Indonesia 17-0 in their opening match on Monday and on Wednesday afternoon they eclipsed Lal Shash Bokhari-led India’s record of 24-1 thrashing of USA at the 1932 Olympic at Los Angeles.
However, the record for the highest number of goals scored in a single match by an individual still belongs to Roop Singh, who had scored 10 goals in that US hammering.
Drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh top scored for India with five goals, while Harmanpreet Singh fired in four and Akashdeep struck three.
Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Manpreet Singh and Varun Kumar scored two apiece. Dilpeert Singh, Surendra Kumar, Simranjeet Singh, Mandeep Singh, SV Sunil, Chinglensana Singh, Amit Rohidas and Vivek Sagar Prasad completed the tally by shared eight goals between them.
“A win is always welcome, but I find that boys had dropped their pace, especially after half-time,” said team chief coach Harendra Singh. “The margin of win is really good, but if we had continued our attacking style of play like we played in the first half, the victory margin could have been bigger.”
Hong Kong have slowly lost their sheen after the 2010 Asian Games, after they decided to exclude naturalised expats from India and Pakistan and started to rope in their own nationals in the squad.
India made merry from the start and everyone in the team was rotated well to get good match practice before the tougher matches ahead.
“There was some good saving by the Hong Kong keepers in the second half, and we too tried so many variations,” said Harendra. “I really admire the enthusiasm of Hong Kong, who never lost their fighting spirit.
“We need to keep the momentum going into the next two matches where both teams would try to pose challenge for us and they are good with their counter attacks.”
India will be taking on Japan under the lights on Friday and their real test will come against South Korea on Sunday.
In Group B, Pakistan thrashed Oman 10-0 to keep up the high goal tally in the tournament. Ali Shan grabbed a hat-trick in the one-sided match. It was their second consecutive 10-0 result, having defeated Thailand by the same scoreline on Monday.
The result moves them up to second in the table, behind Malaysia on goal difference.
They face Kazakhstan on Friday.