Olympic qualifiers: Indian men thrash Italy 8-1, women beat Canada 4-1 (Roundup)

February 19th, 2012 - 11:34 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) Indian men’s hockey team thrashed Italy 8-1 while the women churned out a much improved performance to beat Canada 4-1 in their second match of the 2012 London Olympics qualifiers at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here Sunday.

The men’s team, ranked World No.10 followed up their 15-1 win over Singapore with another dominating performance against the Italians, who are ranked 28th in the FIH rankings.

India are on top of the group in the men’s event with six points and have scored 23 goals in just two games. The hosts were clinical in their approach right from the start and coach Michael Nobbs was visibly pleased to see his boys converting four of the five penalty corners they earned.

Penalty corner specialist Sandeep Singh was on target thrice (3rd, 21st and 23rd) while the other drag-flicker V. Raghunath converted the second penalty corner in the 11th minute.

S.V. Sunil struck twice (30th, 38th) while Gurwinder Singh Chandi (31st) and Shivendra Singh (52nd) scored goals apiece.

While India made the most of the opportunities from the penalty corners, they also scored some well executed field goals, which were a delight to watch.

Italy scored their solitary goal early on in the 16th minute through Alessandro Nani from an indirect penalty corner but mostly it was one-way-traffic, with India dominating the proceedings.

Earlier in the evening, the Indian women’s hockey team churned out a much improved performance to beat Canada 4-1.

After being held 1-1 by low-ranked Ukraine in their opening match, World No.13 India were in the attacking mode right from the start and led 3-0 by the half-time against Canada, who are 20th in the FIH rankings.

Having drawn their opening matches, both India and Canada were in a must-win position to stay alive in the competition. India, however, never looked under pressure and dominated the Canadians with their free-flowing attacking game.

Soundarya Yendala gave India the lead in the 16th minute deflecting in an indirect penalty corner from skipper Asanta Lakra. Three minutes later Rani Rampaul doubled the lead as she dribbled into the D from a free-hit and went past three defenders to sound the board from a base-line hit.

Sushila Chanu added the third in the 29th minute from an indirect penalty corner while Anduradha Devi Thokchom completed the scoreline in the 49th minute from a field goal.

Hannah Haughin struck the lone goal for Canada in the last minute from a goal mouth melee.

The Indian half-line was impressive with Vandana Katariya and Deepika Thakur orchestrating the moves. Yendala Soundarya and Jasjeet Kaur Handa also combined well up-front to keep the Canadian defenders busy.

India’s attacking game earned them six penalty corners in the first half as the Canadians looked completely out of sort. In a space of three minutes from 26th to 29th minute, the hosts got four penalty corners and Sushila converted the fourth from an indirect penalty to put India 3-0 up by the break.

India continued the second-half in the same breadth but the Canadians tightened their defence. India found the net in the 49th minute through an excellent effort from Anuradha, who finished clinically.

India were unlucky to concede a goal in the last minute. Subadhra Pradhan almost made a goal-line save to thwart Hannah’s deflection but the ball struck the diminutive Canadian forward’s stick and rolled back into the net.

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