India opened their campaign in the World Hockey Olympic qualifying tournament with a rousing 8-0 win against Russia at the Prince of Wales Country Club here today.
Prabhjot Singh, who has been in tremendous form in the past one year, did the star turn for the Indians scoring three goals (19th, 29th, 65th) while Dilip Tirkey (14th), Tushar Khandekar (36th), Sardara Singh (48th) and V Ramachandra Raghunath (54th) netted the others.
Scoring four goals in each half, the Indians left nothing to chance and were on the attack against the 50th ranked team that appeared clueless.
The Russians left huge gaps in their defence and the Indian forwards needed no second invitation and came away with a flattering scoreline.
Using the quick short passes to good effect, India moved fluently and ripped apart the Russian defence that increasingly grew tentative before yielding ground at the first hint of trouble.
Only late in the game when the Indians erred in relaxing their grip on the game did the Russians squeezed in a couple of moves the last of which led to two back-to-back penalty corners on the stroke of full-time.
India, backed by a sizeable group of expatriate countrymen besides Ambassador to Chile Mrs Susmita Gongulee Thomas, did not have to wait long for their first goal.
After Raghunath failed with an early penalty corner, Dilip Tirkey was on the mark with a well-angled direct hit to the boards.