Two goals each by Mandeep Singh and Gursahibjit Singh helped India register an emphatic 6-0 win against Malaysia in their first game of the Olympic Test Event in Tokyo, Japan. Gurinder Singh and SV Sunil scored one each for the Harmanpreet Singh-led team against their continental rivals.
After the Indian Women's Hockey team registered a convincing 2-1 win over Japan in their opening match of Olympic Test Event, the Indian Men's Hockey team also performed in similar vein as they defeated Malaysia 6-0 in their opening encounter of the tournament held here at the Oi Hockey Stadium on Saturday. Forwards Mandeep Singh (33', 46') and Gursahibjit Singh (18', 56') scored a brace each for the Indian Men's Hockey team, while Gurinder Singh (8') and SV Sunil (60') also registered their names on the score-sheet.
The Indians had the upper hand in the first quarter as the experienced SV Sunil, Mandeep Singh and Gursahibjit Singh, all created chances inside the first 10 minutes. Mandeep Singh looked in good rhythm as he took two shots at Malaysian Goalkeeper Kumar Subramiam’s goal, and forced a save on both occasions. It was in the 8th minute that India earned themselves their first Penalty Corner of the match, which was converted by Gurinder Singh to give his team the lead. The following minutes saw India dominate their fellow Asian opponents, and win as many as four Penalty Corners through some great attacking play. First it was debutant Ashis Kumar Topno, and then Nilam Sanjeep Xess and Vivek Kumar Prasad also won PCs for India. However, good work by the first rushers, and a couple of good saves by Kumar meant that India could only manage one goal in the opening quarter.
However, the start of the second quarter saw India continue from where they left off, and score in the 18th minute through Forward Gursahibjit Singh, who was found inside the striking circle by Gurjant Singh to make it 2-0 in India's favour. World No. 12 Malaysia also forced Indian Goalkeeper Suraj Karkera to make a couple of fine saves in the new few minutes, but could not pull a goal back before the half-time break. The Indians continued to attack the Malaysians at the start of the third quarter, and it was Vice-Captain Mandeep Singh who registered his name on the score-sheet in the 33rd minute, after Jaskaran Singh set him up well through some creative play. However, on the other end of the pitch, Malaysia were awarded a Penalty Corner just two minutes later, but could only force it wide of the post. India had some more opportunities towards the end of the third quarter as Captain Harmanpreet Singh and SV Sunil saw their shots going wide of the post.
The last quarter saw India put more pressure on their opponents and score three more goals to make it a very convincing victory. It was in the 46th minute, that Mandeep Singh scored his second goal of the match as India attacked Malaysia on the counter. A Malaysian Penalty Corner was well-defended by the World No. 5 team, and converted into an attack which was finished off by Singh to make it 4-0. With majority of the attacks coming from the Indian team, the fifth and sixth goals were also around the horizon and finally came in the 56th and 60th minutes as Gursahibjit Singh and SV Sunil scored respectively. For Gursahibjit's second goal, it was Harmanpreet Singh who intercepted a Malaysian pass, and provided an assist to the Forward to make it 5-0, while SV Sunil, who was making a comeback into the side, rounded off with a wonderful finish with just seconds remaining on the clock.