Indian junior men’s hockey team kicked off their campaign at the Men’s Junior Asia Cup 2023 in Salalah, Oman with a solid 18-0 win over Chinese Taipei in their first Pool A match on Wednesday.
Araijeet Singh Hundal (19’, 19’, 30’, 59) starred in the match for India, scoring four goals, while Amandeep (37’, 38’, 41’) netted a hat-trick. Captain Uttam Singh (10’, 59’), Boby Singh Dhami (11’, 46’) and Chandura boby Poovanna (39’, 54’) scored a brace while Aditya Arjun Lalage (37’), Sharda Nand Tiwari (11’), Angad Bir Singh (37’), Amir Ali (51’), and Rawat Yogember (60’) also scored a goal each.
India pressed early on in the match, earning themselves a crucial penalty corner. But Sharda Nand Tiwari’s flick was defended by Chinese Taipei. Captain Uttam Singh (10’) broke the opposition’s resistance and scored the first goal for India, and a few seconds later, Boby Singh Dhami (11’) doubled India’s lead with a powerful strike. Sharda Nand Tiwari (11’) added in the third goal for India from a penalty corner as India finished the first quarter with a 3-0 lead.
India continued their dominance in possession in the second half and managed to earn another penalty corner. But this time, the shot from Rohit was stopped in its track. A minute later, Araijeet Singh Hundal (19’, 19’) scored twice in a row to further extend India’s lead and increase pressure on the opposition. At the stroke of halftime, Araijeet (30’) struck a powerful shot towards the bottom right corner of the nets to complete his hat-trick and extend India’s lead to 6-0.
Trailing by six goals, Chinese Taipei started showing urgency at the start of the third quarter. But India quickly regained possession and Boby Singh Dhami penetrated inside the circle to create another opportunity, which Angad Bir Singh (37’) converted into another goal.
A few seconds later, Aditya Arjun Lalage (37’) tapped the ball into the nets after receiving a sublime pass from Angad. With Amandeep (38’) scoring another goal in the next minute, India extended their lead to 9-0. India added in three more goals before the end of the quarter to take their lead to 12-0.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, India continued to push forward and Boby Singh Dhami (46’) found the back of the net once again. Chinese Taipei started defending in numbers in hopes of preventing more goals. But relentless attacks from the Indian troops kept up the pressure. Amir Ali’s (51’) powerful flick from a penalty corner increased India’s lead to 14-0.
Chandura boby Poovanna (54’) added the 15th goal, while skipper Uttam Singh (59’), Araijeet (59’) and Rawat Yogember (60’) added three more goals in the final minute as India picked up a comfortable 18-0 win.
The Indian men’s team will face off against Japan in their next encounter on May 25. The Uttam Singh-led team will then lock horns with Pakistan on May 27 before playing against Thailand in their last pool game on May 28.