Jakarta: Playing an all-out attacking game, India overwhelmed Japan 8-0 for their third successive win to storm into the semi-finals of the men’s hockey competition in the 18th Asian Games here on Friday.
For the winners, who led 3-0 at half time, the goal scorers were Rupinder Pal, Mandeep Singh (2 each ) Akashdeep, SV Sunil, Dilpreet, and Vivek (1 each).
Earlier in other matches, Sri Lanka defeated Hong Kong 4-1, strong contender Korea humbled Indonesia 15-0, Pakistan routed Kazakhstan 16-0, Malaysia outplayed Bangladesh 7-0 and Oman beat Thailand 2-0.
For once in the initial stages Indians had to fight for taking the lead. Though they dominated the proceedings, but still it took them 7 minutes to break the deadlock and surge ahead.
After missing a chance, Akashdeep ran from right flank and relayed the ball to SV Sunil inside the circle who with reverse hit the ball home for 1-0.
The Japanese surprised the Indians with a sharp counter attack but Kenta Tanaka could not beat the goalkeeper.
Japan was expected to give Indians a fight, but barring few stray moves, they failed to stop the former World champion’s juggernaut .
Indians, who had scored 43 goals in their previous two matches—Indonesia (17-0), Hong Kong (26-0)—took their goal tally to staggering 51 goals in three matches.
Indians made their intention clear from the very start and forced Japanese to be on the defensive and in the process took control of the mid-field.
The winners had to wait for another five minutes for their second goal and this time Dilpreet latched on to a long pass and slammed the ball home for 2-0.
In the second quarter, Indian strikers were all over the Japanese defence but wasted several chances with Akashdeep and Lalit Upadhya fumbling at the crucial moments.
However, Indians consolidated their lead through Rupinder Pal, who converted the second penalty corner with a rasping drag flick (3-0).
Indians took full advantage of dominating the mid-field by launching attacks from the flanks and from the centre. The repeated assault led to the collapse of Japanese resistance.
Two minutes into the second session Mandeep Singh scored the fourth goal and then Rupinder Pal converted another penalty corner to take the tally to 5-0. Akashdeep, Vivek Prasad and Mandeep scored a goal each in the space of 10 minutes to complete the rout.