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Updated on: Friday, June 07, 2019, 12:58 PM IST

2020 Olympics qualification campaign: Perfect 10 for India

Favourites India demolished hapless Russia 10-0 in their opening match of the FIH Series Finals hockey tournament to start their 2020 Olympics qualification campaign on a rousing note here Thursday.
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Bhubaneswar: Favourites India demolished hapless Russia 10-0 in their opening match of the FIH Series Finals hockey tournament to start their 2020 Olympics qualification campaign on a rousing note here Thursday. Dragflicker Harmanpreet Singh (32nd, 48th) and striker Akashdeep Singh (41st, 55th minutes) scored a brace each for India, while Nilkanata Sharma (13th), Simranjeet Singh (19th), Amit Rohidas (20th), Varun Kumar (33rd), Gursahibjit Singh (38th) and Vivek Sagar Prasad (45th) were the other goal-getters for the home team in the lop-sided Pool B encounter. Even though their goal was never threatened once in the first two quarters, the Indians were slow to get off the blocks, especially against a side which is ranked 22nd in the world.

The Indian forwardline looked a little complacent in the first half as it failed to finish off the moves on quite a few occasions. But still it was one-way traffic as India controlled the proceedings from the word go. As early as the third minute, India earned back-to-back penalty corners but both went in vain with Harmanpreet striking the top upright of the Russian goal in the second effort.

It took world no. 5 India 13 minutes to break the deadlock when Nilkanta deflected in Akshdeep Singh's push from top of the D. Seconds later Nilkanta was once again in the thick of things but his try from top of the circle was saved by Russian goalkeeper Marat Gafarov. India doubled their lead in the 19th minute through Simranjeet who scored from a rebound after Sumit's reverse hit was saved by the Russian goalie. A minute later India secured their third penalty corner and Rohidas made no mistake in slotting the ball home to hand his side a 3-0 lead. The hosts secured another short corner before the halfway break but failed to utilise it. India will play Poland in their second pool match on Friday.

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Published on: Friday, June 07, 2019, 12:58 PM IST
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