India thrashed China 9-0 to stay on course for the top spot in the round-robin league competition of the fourth Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament.
Akashdeep Singh, Yousuf Affan and Jasjit Singh Kumar scored three goals each as India steamrolled the Chinese defence. The Indians were looking to equal their 10-goal feat against Japan in this tournament when the hooter ended the contest.
Rupinder Pal Singh, captaining India in this contest, Nikkin Thimmaiah and Lalit Upadhyay also made entries in the score-sheet as India boosted their points tally to 10 from four matches, one of which was drawn.
India will take on hosts Malaysia on Wednesday with both teams vying for the top spot in the round-robin league standings. Malaysia have nine points after three successive victories.
India went into this game without ace goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, who was seen wearing a brace on his left ankle. This paved the way for goalkeeper Akash Chikte, who did well to ward off two penalty corner shots.
Akashdeep opened the Indian account in the ninth minute when he intercepted a back-pass among Chinese defenders and beat goalkeeper Wang Hong Yu with a shot from the top of the circle that went into the net.
Akashdeep was also in the picture for India’s second goal in the 18th minute as he squared the ball to unmarked Affan in a brisk raid. Affan sent a well-directed push into the boards.
Jasjit swapped passes with Talwinder Singh in the scoring zone before scoring with a fine reverse shot that wrong-footed the custodian in the 22nd minute before Rupinder converted the first penalty corner three minutes later to give India a 4-0 lead at half-time.
India’s highest goal-getter with eight penalty corner conversions in this tournament, Rupinder is also the highest scorer of the tournament so far.
Rupinder also sent the second Indian penalty corner into the net, but the goal was cancelled on video review sought by the Chinese team.