The Indian men’s hockey team started off their Asian Champions Trophy 2023 campaign on a high as they overpowered China 7-2 in its campaign opener at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium in Chennai on August 3.
With a win, India march to the top of the Asian Champions Trophy standings on basis of superior goal difference, as per Olympics.com.
Harmanpreet Singh (5’, 8’), Sukhjeet Singh (15’), Akashdeep Singh (16’) Varun Kumar (19’, 30’) and Mandeep Singh (40’) struck for India, helping the home side to a massive win while E Wenhui and Jiesheng Gao scored for China in second half.
Before the match started, India’s Amit Rohidas and Sumit were honoured as they made their 150th and 100th international appearances, respectively.
India, currently placed fourth in the FIH men’s hockey rankings, went on the offensive right from the beginning and pushed world number 25 China on the backfoot.
India dominated the ball possession and attacked the opponent's goal with long balls. This strategy paid off as India took a lead in fifth minute with a penalty corner, with skipper Harmanpreet Singh driving the ball past the Chinese goalkeeper to hand India a 1-0 lead. Just three minutes later, he doubled Men in Blue's lead with another conversion of penalty corner.
Indian fans were not made to wait for the third goal either as Sukhjeet Singh made use of a rebound after a drag flick by Varun Kumar was saved by the Chinese goalkeeper.
India ended the first quarter on a dominant note, with a 3-0 lead.
India managed to carry the goal-scoring momentum in the second quarter and quickly got their fourth goal, with Akashdeep Singh storming into Chinese half and finding the nets with a perfect shot.
China pulled themselves back a bit as they made the most of some rare defensive lapses by India. Varun Kumar failed to stop an aerial pass and China’s E Wenhui made sure he slammed the ball past a diving Indian goalkeeper Krishan Pathak in the 18th minute.
Pained by a goal, Team India responded back with another goal. Varun made up for his defensive lapse and scored the fifth goal for India, making it 5-1. He scoed another one to make it 6-2 leading into the first half conclusion. Between Kumar's two goals, came a goal from China's Gao Jiesheng in the 25th minute that made the scoreline 6-2.
India extended their victory margin in second half with Mandeep Singh converting a penalty corner in the third quarter. The match ended with scoreline reading 7-2 in India's favour.