Asia Cup hockey: India Beats China

Asia Cup hockeySpoiling China 1-0 in the last match on the opening day of the Asia Cup hockey tournament, India began its campaign on a winning note this Friday.

The Chinese were more agile and dominated the field, certainly looked winning team, but ultimately, India managed to have a win under its belt. Certainly, it was India’s day!

Dilip Tirkey scored lone goal of the match in the 46th minute during a melee in front of the 'D' when he was briefly left unmarked. However, India's penalty corner specialist V. Raghunath, had a very disappointing day, as he was unable to do any miracle on the field.

Generally, Indians were chasing the Chinese, but goalkeeper Baljit Singh really did commendable job under pressure managing to make some miraculous saves at least twice.

Playing an uncharacteristically defensive game, the Chinese seemed to be contented with taking control of the ball, and consequently the team failed to destroy the Indian defence.

At the post match press conference, the Chinese team manager Zhao Xiao Yu said, “We had six new players in the team so it was that much more difficult."

"The gap between us and the two other Asian giants (India and Pakistan) has narrowed down considerably. Today we played a waiting game, which did not pay in the final scheme of things," Zhao added.

However, the Indian coach Joaquim Carvalho referred to a couple of umpiring decisions that really impacted on Raghunath's game.

Carvalho said, "I can't say he had an off-day. Usually when a player makes a good move in the beginning of the match and the referee turns it down, it tells on his morale. There will be other matches and Raghunath will come up trumps."

"A match cannot be won on penalty corners alone. We used today's opportunity to test both our flanks and our cohesive movements. But now, we have broken the jinx of always losing matches in tournaments. Now, we look at the positive side of things - and at our planning for the South Korean encounter (on Monday)," Carvalho added.

In other matches on Friday, Pakistan beat Hong Kong 6-1, Bangladesh demolished Thailand 13-0, South Korea devastated Sri Lanka 12-2, and Malaysia chastised Singapore 8-0.