India steamrolled Uzbekistan by a jaw-dropping 16-0 in the Asian Games Hockey match on Sunday (September 24th) to start its Asian Games 2023 campaign in the best way possible. The likes of Mandeep Singh, Lalit Upadhyay, and Varun Kumar scored hattricks to thrash Uzbekistan, who had a forgettable start to the showpiece event.
As far as India is concerned, Lalith Upadhyay (7’, 24’ 37’, 53’), Varun Kumar (12’, 36’, 50’, 51’) Abhishek (17’), Mandeep Singh (18’, 27’, 28’) Amit Rohidas (38’), Sukhjeet (42’), Shamsher Singh (43’) and Sanjay (57’) caused the damage in a resounding victory. With only top two teams slated to qualify for the semi-finals, India have already surged to the top of the table in Pool A.
India go offensive against Uzbekistan from the outset:
Despite missing captain Harmanpreet Singh, India played with attacking approach from the start, forcing their opposition to go into a defensive mode, thereby producing favorable results. Upadhyay opened the account for India just seven minutes into the match as he scored a goal from a penalty corner, making it 1-0. Varun Kumar made it 2-0 after another penalty corner as India finished the first quarter with 1-0.
Abhishek and Mandeep scored their first goals in the 2nd quarter, while Upadhyay smashed his 2nd to get India ahead by 7-0 into half-time. Following the break, India ruthlessly added 9 more goals to their tally, with the scoreline showing a whopping 16-0 for them. They will next lock horns with Singapore on Tuesday.
India came into the event ranked No.3 in the FIH standings following their Asian Champions Trophy win last month.