The Indian men's team scored a comprehensive 15-1 victory over Singapore to take a small but significant step towards its goal of clinching a London Games berth, at the National Stadium on Saturday.
In their opening match of the Olympic Qualifiers against a hapless Southeast Asian nation, the home team showed no mercy and relentlessly pumped in goals on either side of the break. India scored six goals in the first half and another nine in the second session to send a strong signal to the rivals that they mean business.Not in recent history have India won by such a flattering margin and coach, Michael Nobbs, was visibly happy. "It was a good result, but the boys need to improve further. There should be fewer mistakes," he said.
Chances to experiment
Since the match went on expected lines, it gave Nobbs enough opportunity to experiment with his game plan for tougher matches in the six-team tournament. "We played at 70 per cent only, we have plenty in reserve still," he added.
Taking time to settle down, the home team went 1-0 up when Gurwinder Singh Chandi's close ranger beat goalkeeper Sam Ong. Thereafter, India scored goals at regular intervals.Singapore's agony continued in the second session too. India could have scored half-a-dozen more goals but some excellent saves by Sam Ong prevented the score-line from swelling further.
"Hope I am able to keep the score-line low in the next match," said Sam Ong who had just two weeks of training before the Qualifiers.
Despite the win, concern remains for Nobbs as his boys weren't good at taking penalty corners. Stalwart Sandeep Singh and VR Raghunath failed to prove their worth when it came to foxing the opponents from the top of the striking circle. Sandeep failed on two occasions while Raghunath was the culprit on one occasion.
"We are yet to peak," was all Nobbs said of the missed chances.