Competition in the men’s hockey section in the Asian Games at Guangzhou began amidst the fret and fever of speculation at the AOTI on Monday, writes Tournament Media Officer Subramaniam Thyagarajan. With only one place assured in the London Olympics for the men, every team is chasing the gold, giving way to some lively contests on the opening day.
India, which missed a podium finish at the last event in Doha, started its quest with a 7-0 victory over Hong Kong China. Not everything worked well for the Indians who felt the bumpy ground precluded fluent dribbling; however, the penalty corner ace, Sandeep Singh struck twice in the early minutes to set the tempo after Bharat Chikkara put the team ahead in the second minute.
India then scored at steady intervals, after holding a 4-0 at half-time.
The Spanish coach, Jose Brasa, attributed the slow paced contest to the bumpy surface. He wanted the players to be circumspect and take the chances as and when they surfaced.
In Pool A, Malaysia began well with a 3-0 win over Singapore, all the three goals coming in the first half. Swift and skilful the Malaysians dominated the first half but the Singapore defenders performed strongly in the second half denying their rival any more success.
Chief coach Stephen van Huizen, was not fully satisfied by the performance, which he thought could have been much better in terms of goals scored.
Japan had wage a grim battle to get full points from Bangladesh. Coached by Aikman, the Surinam born Dutch coach, the Japanese failed to gauge the force of the Bangladesh thrust till Krishno Kumri stuck.
Inspired by this goal Bangladesh attacked with verve almost throughout the first half denying any opening for the Japan until the 47th minute. Yamabori broke the suspense producing the equalizer and Nasagawa then enlarged the margin. In the final minutes, Ozawa netted one to widen the lead.
China proved too good for Oman in a Pool A match. The home team had everything its way in the contest.
The results: Pool A:
Malaysia 3 (Hanafi, Azlan Misron, Muhammad Razie) beat Singapore 0. HT 3-0
China 7 (Song Yi, Liu Yixian 3, De Yunze, Sun Long, Dong Yang) beat Oman 0: HT 4-0.
India 7 (Bharat Chikkara, Sandeep Singh 2, Sarvanjit Singh, Tushar Khandekar, Arjun Halappa, Shivendra Singh) beat Hong Kong-China 0 HT 4-0.
Japan 3 (Yamabori, Nasagawa, Ozawa) beat Bangladesh 1 (Krishno Kumri) HT 0-1.
Women: Japan v India; China v Kazakhstan Korea v Malaysia.
Men: Pool A: Korea v Oman ; China v Singapore
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