The Indian men’s hockey team have defeated Uzbekistan by 16-0 in their opening match in Pool A of the Asian Games 2023, at the Gongshu Canal Sports Park Stadium in Hangzhou. On September 24, Sunday, the Olympic bronze medallists dominated their inexperienced opponents from Central Asia for the entirety of 60 minutes, to put every team on notice in the competition.
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Two of the Indian players scored four goals apiece, with Lalit Upadhayay registering himself on the scoresheet in the 7th, 24th, 37th, and 53rd minute, while Varun Kumar finding the net in the 12th, 36th, 50th, and 51st minute. Mandeep Singh chipped-in with a hat-trick through goals in the 18th, 27th, and 28th minute, along with Abhishek (17’), Amit Rohidas (38’), Sukhjeet (42’), Shamsher Singh (43’), and Sanjay (57’) scoring the remainder of the goals.
With this emphatic win, the three time Asian Games champions India are top of Pool A in men’s hockey, which includes teams like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Japan, Singapore, and Uzbekistan. The top two teams from the pool stage are going to make the semi-final round, therefore every match is vitally important.
Notably, the captain of Team India, Harmanpreet Singh, who was the flag bearer for the country in the opening ceremony of the Asian Games 2023 yesterday, didn’t play against Uzbekistan in the opening match due to a minor right knee injury. But still, the World No. 3 men’s hockey team had no problems in brushing aside World No. 66 in a one-sided contest.