Indian men thrash Canada 15-1, women held by Ukraine (Lead)

February 18th, 2012 - 11:48 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) Indian men’s hockey team started their 2012 London Olympics qualifying campaign with a thumping 15-1 win over Singapore while the women’s team were held 1-1 by a lowly-ranked Ukraine at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here Saturday.

Tournament favourites India, ranked World No.10, toyed with Singapore, the lowest ranked men’s team at World No.41, and fashioned their biggest win over the South East Asian country bettering their 12-0 win registered in the 1982 Asia Cup in Karachi.

With the win, India also maintained their domination over Singapore having won in all the 14 encounters so far between the two teams.

Gurwinder Singh Chandi, who struck thrice (11th, 21st, 40th), opened the scoring after being set-up by Tushar Khandekar inside the D. Man of the Match Chandi did a dummy and shot it past the Singaporean goalkeeper to sound the board. The floodgates opened as India scored five goals in the space of 14 minutes and led 6-0 at half-time.

Singapore found the consolation goal through Enrico Elifh Abdul Lathif Marican from a counter-attack just four minutes after the re-start.

But there was no respite for the visitors as India continued the second half in the same fashion pumping in nine more. Shivendra Singh, S.V. Sunil and Danish Mujtaba scored a brace each while Yuvraj Walmiki, S.K. Uthappa, Sandeep Singh, Sardar Singh, Tushar Khandekar and Birendra Lakra struck once each.

Earlier in the evening, the Indian women’s team started their campaign in an unconvincing fashion with a 1-1 draw against lowly Ukraine.

India dominated the proceedings but lacked proper finishing that did them in as chances went abegging inside the Ukrainian penalty box.

Ukraine, one of the lowest ranked teams in the tournament at World No.26, shockingly took lead in the 25th minute through captain Maryna Vynohradova, who converted their second penalty corner.

India, world No.13, equalised in the 42nd minute through Soundarya Yendala after a brilliantly orchestrated move by Kirandeep Kaur. India almost broke the deadlock in the 55th minute after a strike from Anuradha Devi Thokchom, but the goal was disallowed due to her high stick.

The Indian women had to blame themselves for the draw as they failed to finish several quick moves. The home team though made most of their attacks down the right flank, where Soundarya impressed with her quick runs and deft stick-work, but it was a pedestrian performance by the half-line.

India had the first shot at the target as early as in the third minute but Ritu Rani’s reverse hit from the top of the circle went past the Ukraine goal.

The Ukrainian defenders did a good job to mark the Indian forwards, who were stifled inside the D. Jasjeet Kaur Handa, Anuradha Devi and Ritu Rani were rusty as the Indian attacks fizzled out in the Ukrainian circle.

Rani Rampal missed a sitter just before the lemon break after she was set-up well with a precise pass from Ritu Rani and scooped it over the goalpost when she had only the goalkeeper to beat.

India’s failure to convert any of the four penalty corners would also be a concern for coach C.R. Kumar. India were awarded two penalty corners late in the game but the second one was disallowed after Ukraine’s technical advisor Jose Brasa, former India men’s coach, protested that the penalty corner was given just as the hooter was blown.

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