SALALAH: The Indian hockey team opened their title defence at the Men’s Junior Asia Cup 2023 by defeating Chinese Taipei 18-0 on Wednesday at the Sultan Qaboos Youth Complex in Salalah, Oman.
India looked steady from the start, and skipper Uttam Singh’s (10′, 59′) goal opened the floodgates. In the same minute, vice-captain Dhami Boby Singh (10′) scored India’s second goal.
Araijeet Singh Hundal led the way with four goals (19′, 19’30’, 59′). India’s tally was increased by Angad Bir Singh (37′), Aditya Arjun Lalage (37′, 37′), Amandeep (38′, 39′, 41′), and Yogember Rawat (60′), as per Olympics.com.
Only three of India’s 18 goals came from free kicks. The first-quarter goal by Sharda Nand Tiwari (11′) and the fourth-quarter goals by Amir Ali (51′) and Chandura boby Poovanna (54′) both came from penalty corners.
With three points and a goal differential of +18, India now leads Pool A. Pakistan is second with a goal difference of +14 after defeating Chinese Taipei 15-1 on Tuesday.
Japan is third in the points standings after defeating Thailand 7-1 in their first round. Thailand is fourth, while Chinese Taipei is last in Pool A’s five teams.
The Indian hockey team will play Japan on Thursday, followed by matches against arch-rivals Pakistan on Saturday and Thailand on Sunday. The top two teams in each pool will advance to the semi-finals.
Pool B is made up of the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Oman, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan.
The Men’s Junior Asia Cup 2023 hockey competition serves as a qualifier for the FIH Junior Men’s World Cup 2023, which will take place in Malaysia in December.
The top three teams in the Men’s Junior Asia Cup 2023, as well as the hosts Malaysia, will advance to the quadrennial event. (ANI)