India registered their third consecutive win of the Asian Champions Trophy, trouncing Asian Games gold medallists, Japan, 9-0 in a round-robin fixture in Muscat on Sunday.

India, ranked fifth in the world, were the favourites to win the game against world No 16 Japan. But with a 9-0 thrashing, Harendra Singh’s men are looking good to go all the way in the tournament.

The onslaught of goals started early in the first quarter. After Akashdeep Singh’s foiled attempt in the first minute, India had to wait just three minutes to go 1-0 up. In a swift counterattack, Akashdeep, running into the vacant left flank, passed the ball to Lalit inside the circle, who flicked it into the net.

The goal immediately put Japan on the backfoot. They, for the rest of the match, were ultra-defensive against the men in blue.

India added another goal in the first quarter when Gurjant Singh deflected the ball into the net from the goalmouth after a Harmanpreet Singh’s drag-flick rebounded off the Japanese goalkeeper.

Scrambling to stop the Indian attackers near the goalmouth, Japan conceded a penalty, two minutes into the start of the second quarter. Harmanpreet converted it to score India’s third goal. He added one more to his tally, five minutes later, with a powerful, accurate strike during a Penalty Corner.

With a 4-0 lead, Japan – as conceded by their coach Siegfried Aikman – were under pressure going into the half-time break.

India, at the end of the first half, had 12 circle entries more than Japan’s six. This gap only widened as the match progressed. Japan, for most part of the match, were scrambling to stop the Indian attack. So, they found only few opportunities to mount an attack. Their first Penalty Corner of the match came only in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, the story of the first half repeated in the second. India, buoyed by the 4-0 lead, started to attack immediately in the third quarter.

The men in blue pumped in three more goals through Akashdeep Singh, Kothajit Singh and Lalit Upadhyay.

Akashdeep scored India’s fifth goal, which resulted off a goalmouth melee. He, then, made a superb cross from the right flank to Kothajit, who found the perfect angle to slot in the sixth goal of the game.

Japan had an advantage in the third quarter when Dilpreet Singh got a five-minute suspension after getting a yellow card. But India scored through Lalit in that duration for a 7-0 lead.

In the last quarter, the Asian Games gold medallists got two back-to-back Penalty Corners but failed to convert. Mandeep, meanwhile, added two more goals to complete the 9-0 rout for India.