Indian hockey juniors floor Oman 9-0, enter Asia Cup semis

Kuantan (Malaysia), Nov 19 (IANS) India fired six first half goals to crush lower ranked Oman 9-0 and enter the semi-finals of the 8th Junior Men’s Asia Cup hockey tournament here on Thursday.

Harmanpreet Singh scored a hat-trick as India made the quarter-final a one-sided contest in the first half at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium. They will face Japan in the first semi-final on Saturday.

The difference in physical and technical proficiency between India and Oman was evident from the beginning as the latter charged ahead undeterred.

Harmanpreet converted a penalty stroke in the seventh minute to make it 1-0.

Armaan Qureshi doubled India’s lead with a field goal three minutes later before Harmanpreet converted a penalty corner to make it 3-0.

Gurjant Singh added the fourth goal in the 18th minute and four minutes later, Santa Singh made it 5-0 as the Oman defence lacked the ammunition to defend.

It took another eight minutes for Mandeep Singh to score India’s sixth goal as the first half ended.

India’s domination continued in the second half as well even though the flow of goals slowed down.

Captain and midfielder Harjeet Singh made it 7-0 in the 45th minute.

Harmanpreet completed his hat-trick with a perfectly executed penalty corner. He now has nine goals in the eight-nation tournament.

The last nail in the Oman coffin was a field goal by Mohammad Umar in the 54th minute, ensuring a comfortable win for India.

“The performance against Oman will give us a lot of confidence. A win with such a huge margin will help us come back to the training grounds with a lot of energy and strive for more in the upcoming semi-finals,” India chief coach Harendra Singh said in a release.

“We are taking one step at a time and our energies are now just focussed on converting the semi-final encounter to our favour.”

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