Skipper Ajitesh Roy led from the front with five goals as the Indian hockey team mauled an inexperienced Nepal 21-0 to make a resounding start at the 11th South Asian Games here on Saturday. Such was India’s domination that even coach Clarence Lobo lost count of the team’s goal scorers.
Asked how many goals did Man-of-the-match Roshan Minz score, the amazed coach turned to one of the players for an answer. India fielded a second string side captained by Ajitesh Roy but the completely inexperienced Nepal, who were featuring in their second international outing after 10 years, crumbled nonetheless.
Nepal, who were playing after featuring in the 1995 Games in Chennai, were playing on the artificial turf for the first time. It was complete domination by India as Roy led from the front, scoring five goals in the 15th, 58th, 59th, 66th and 68th minutes. Indian forwards Yuvraj Walmiki and Mohammed Aamir Khan slammed the boards thrice each.
‘Pressure will be on India’
Karachi: Pakistan’s hockey captain Zeeshan Ashraf believes that the team’s recent record against India makes them favourites to win their opening match of the World Cup, beginning on Feb 28 in New Delhi.
Zeeshan, a seasoned defender, said his boys were itching to take the field against India. “We have beaten India in our last three clashes in the recent past and this record will put extra pressure on them,” the Pakistan skipper said. Zeeshan’s comments were echoed by Rehan Butt, one of Pakistan’s most experienced strikers who has a knack of scoring goals against India.
Butt said Pakistan would use its match against India as a launching pad to take on higher-ranked teams like Australia. “It’s good to have this match early because it can help us get into rhythm before we play other tougher teams,” Butt said on Saturday.