India humiliate Japan 10-2 to open Asian Champions Trophy campaign; Rupinder Pal Singh gets six goals

Skipper Rupinder Pal Singh was on-mark from the penalty corner spot to score six goals and give India a thumping 10-2 win in Malaysia.

By: Express Web Desk | Updated: October 20, 2016 8:44 pm
India opened their Asian Champions Trophy campaign with a resounding win against Japan in Malaysia. (Source: AP File photo)

Keen to reclaim the title they won in 2011, India began it’s Asian Champions Trophy campaign with an astonishing 10-2 humiliation of Japan in Kuantan on Thursday.

Rupinderpal Singh, the only experienced drag-flicker in the squad, scored six goals from set pieces while Ramandeep Singh, who replaced an injured SV Sunil at the last minute, scored a brace for India. Youngster Affan Yousuf and Talwinder Singh scored a goal each to complete India’s remarkable start to the tournament.

Playing their first match since losing to Belgium in the Rio Olympics quarterfinals, India proved their title credentials, completely dominating a fast-improving Japan. India is the highest-ranked team in the tournament and are favourites to win the gold medal. Defending champions Pakistan, meanwhile, were stunned by hosts Malaysia in their opening match, losing 4-2.

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Build up
For India, only gold matters in Asian hockey Champions Trophy

Five ranking spots and a constantly-widening gulf of class separates India from the next-best team at the Asian Champions Trophy, which gets underway in the Malaysian city of Kuantan on Thursday.
India, placed sixth in the world, are the only Asian team to feature in the top 10 of the world rankings. South Korea are second-best at 11th, followed by Pakistan (13). Going purely by rankings and recent performances, anything less than a gold medal will be seen as a failure for the Asian Games champions.
India’s resurgence has coincided with a collective fall in standards of other Asian teams, a fact underlined when none of the other countries managed to qualify for the Rio Olympics. South Korea have perennially been in a rebuilding phase while lack of funds and internal problems in their federation have contributed to to Pakistan’s rapid slide.
The impact of this became apparent when the Asian Hockey Federation decided to scrap the 2014 and 2015 editions of the Asian Champions Trophy owing to a lack of interest by other countries. However, the International Hockey Federation’s decision to make this an Olympic and World Cup qualifying tournament has given a new lease of life to the tournament. Despite their recent struggles, Pakistan are the most successful side in the tournament’s brief history, winning two out of the three editions. For India to reclaim the title they won in 2011, they will have to end Pakistan’s stranglehold on it. Roelant Oltmans’ side will be eager to prove that the absence of playmaker Manpreet Singh and winger SV Sunil due to injuries has not blunted their strike power. Also missing from the squad is seasoned defender VR Raghunath.
Manpreet’s absence will see the return of former captain Sardar Singh to the centre-half postion, while the experienced Birendra Lakra will return from his injury-forced absence to step into Raghunath’s position. Akashdeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh, who were originally rested, were recalled to the squad after Sunil failed to recover from the wrist injury he sustained during the Olympics. The performance of young strikers Lalit Upadhyay and Affan Yousuf will also be under scrutiny.
India launch their campaign against Japan, while defending champions Pakistan face hosts Malaysia. South Korea and China, the other two participants, get into action on Friday. The highlight of the round robin league competition will be the India-Pakistan encounter on Sunday. Coach Oltmans has implored his side for positive results.

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In an upset in the very first match, hosts Malaysia beat Pakistan 4-2. Yet another damning result in Pakistan’s decline in the sport

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GOAL! India lead inside the first two minutes. Ramandeep with a perfect touch inside the area to create room and then have enough time to compose himself to take a shot inside the corner. India lead 1-0!

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GOAL!! Penalty corner for India and Rupinder Pal Singh with a booming strike in the right corner and that’s 2-0 to India! Eight minutes to go in the first quarter

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GOAL!! Skipper Rupinder Pal Singh once again converts a penalty corner but this time there’s luck involved. Gets a big deflection from an on-rushing Japanese shirt and it makes its way into the back of the net. India are 3-0 with under six minutes to go in the first quarter.

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GOAL!!!! Ramandeep gets his second of the game and India are 4-0 up. Swivel, turn and bang into the goal.

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At the end of the first quarter, India are in commanding lead. 4-0 up!

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HAT-TRICK! RUPINDER PAL SINGH opens the second quarter with a goal and he has a hat-trick. India are demolishing Japan and up 5-0

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Talwinder Singh gets his first and India are 6-0 up with plenty left in the first half.

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GOAL! Rupinder Pal Singh has four. After going to the keeper’s left on multiple instances, he now goes to his right and gets the same result. India are 7-0 up with under eight minutes to go in the first half

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GOAL! Japan have their consolation goal. Sardar Singh loses the ball in the center circle and Japan quickly pounce on it for a counter. Kenta slides home the ball and India lea d7-1

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Second half underway in Malaysia and India have a convincing 7-1 lead over Japan. This gives coach Roelant Oltmans room and time to experiment

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GOAL! Japan get another goal against the run of play. Bit of a squirmish inside the India defensive area and bit of luck comes to Japan’s aid. India’s lead is reduced further as it becomes 7-2

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Into the final quarter of the match and India lead 7-2. Final 15 minutes for India to create further dent on this Japanese defense

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GOAL! The answer to the question below is YES. Rupinder Pal Singh once again scores. This time he sends the ball into the roof of the net. India 8-2 and yet another penalty corner converted

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GOAL! Rupinder Pal Singh is Japan’s nemesis tonight. He’s got his sixth and India are 9-2 up

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GOAL! Affan joins the scoring charts and gets India’s 10th. TENTH GOAL! India are 10-2 up and still over ten minutes to go.

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FULL TIME! India start their Asian Champions Trophy campaign with a thumping 10-2 win over Japan. Rupinder Pal Singh gets six goals, Ramandeep with two, Talwinder and Yousuf Affan with one apiece