Bolstered by a dominating 5-1 win over Japan, India will look to carry forward the momentum when they take on hosts Bangladesh in their second Pool A match of the men’s Asia Cup hockey tournament.
The Indian team led by Manpreet Singh hardly broke a sweat during its win over Japan in its campaign opener.
Apart from an initial set back when Japan equalised in the fourth minute, India sailed through the match improvising their game hooter to hooter and rarely stumbling against the Japanese counter attack.
In their first tournament under a new coach, India meant business and found the net in each quarter, twice in the third, to streamroll their less-fancied but tricky opponents SV Sunil (3rd minute), Lalit Upadhyay (22nd), Ramandeep Singh (33rd) and Harmanpreet Singh (35th and 48th) were on target.
India will be hoping to build on the confidence they have gained from the first match and team’s the chief coach Sjoerd Marijne hopes that his players put on an improved show against the home team tomorrow.
“As a coach, I am always critical so I have to say I am not 100 per cent happy with how we played. I believe we can do better but this was our first match and now that the team is done with shaking off the initial jitters, I think we can focus on improved performance in the next game,” he said.
Considering that Bangladesh suffered a humiliating 0-7 loss in their campaign opener against Pakistan yesterday, India will start as overwhelming favourites.
The Indians would look to stick to their basics and execute their plans well.
“If we are able to do that (stick to our plans), then I don’t see why we should not win the match,” Marijne, who is on his first major tournament with the Indian men’s team, said.
Sjoerd took charge of the team just last month following the sudden sacking of Roelant Oltmans.
Meanwhile, skipper of Bangladesh Rashel Mahmud said that his team will have to put up a much better performance against India if they want to pose any fight.
“We did not play a good match against Pakistan and made a lot of mistakes that led them to score so many goals. It was a bad start but we don’t want to let this loss affect our confidence. We will comeback as a better team against India,” the skipper had said after the match against Pakistan.