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Tuesday, October 3, 2023
Home Other Sports Asian Champions Trophy: India defeats China 7-2 despite conceding'soft goals'

Asian Champions Trophy: India defeats China 7-2 despite conceding’soft goals’


Mistakes like the ones India made against China on Thursday could prove catastrophic against more tenacious opponents like Malaysia and South Korea, who may not be as eager to oblige as China’s backline was.

On a night when India looked like they were going to score every time they went forward, against an opponent, China, who is a lightweight in men’s hockey, the couple of goals they conceded showed a lot more about the squad than the seven they scored.

For it showed the team’s inclination to become complacent, bringing back old habits of receiving an unnecessary card and being suspended. Both errors led to goals for the hosts, which coach Craig Fulton referred to as’soft goals’ in his half-time evaluation.

Fortunately for Fulton, the mistakes did not cost India a lot of money. They were simply too strong for China, eventually winning 7-2 in their opening encounter of the Asian Champions Trophy in Chennai’s Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium.

They scored six goals in the opening half-hour alone, with drag-flickers Harmanpreet Singh and Varun Kumar each converting two penalty corners, and goals from Sukhjeet Singh and Akashdeep Singh.

But errors like the ones India made on Thursday could prove catastrophic against tighter defences and more obstinate opponents like Malaysia and South Korea, who might not be as willing to comply as China’s back-line was.

The first happened when India led 4-0 in the 17th minute. Sumit, a midfielder, lost possession much within China’s half. China launched a high ball along the left sideline to quickly respond. It flew harmlessly in Varun’s direction, who was unaffected by it because China had not sent any men in front of him.

Varun was unable to keep the ball under control, and E Wenhui quickly seized the opportunity. Wenhui went in behind Varun and was through on the Indian goal as the rest of the Indian squad advanced. He came into the defensive end (‘D’) from the left, outran defender Jugraj Singh, and slid the ball past Krishan Pathak.

A minute later, Varun scored from a penalty corner to make apologies. But India gave up a simple goal once more. Jarmanpreet Singh, a defender, received a yellow card, which resulted in a 10-minute suspension. China pushed forward while there was an extra player on the pitch. Gurjant Singh’s behind-the-back push of a Chinese striker earned them a penalty corner, which Jiesheng Gao expertly converted.

Fulton, who is renowned for identifying even the smallest on-field infractions, is unlikely to overlook these errors. They would be the most important takeaways from the game, which was otherwise a walk in the park for India.

India checked almost all the boxes on the offensive front. They had a shot on the Chinese goal almost every second minute, scored goals off penalty corners, scored goals during open play, and pressed high.

Drag-flickers Harmanpreet and Varun made the most of the yawning gap between the left hand side of China’s goalkeeper and the man guarding the post by successfully targeting the area. India scored from 5 out of the 9 penalty corners they took, partly as a result of the poorly placed Chinese defenders.

However, India performed well to earn those corners by applying constant pressure to the Chinese defence. Vivek Sagar Prasad had a spectacular night, while former captain Manpreet Singh, who started as an attacking midfielder for the first time since the World Cup disaster earlier this year, was an energetic force in the attacking third where he received a lot of help from the rest of his teammates.

It might have improved. The entire team performed admirably despite the fact that we missed a few decent chances. We can succeed in the following matches because this is only the first one, Manpreet remarked after the game.

When there was no opportunity, Fulton would have preferred to see his team be a little more patient with the ball and recycle possession. Instead, his squad attempted to force their way into the “D,” which occasionally led to missed opportunities. Manpreet stated that the team would work through that in upcoming games.

That didn’t appear to upset him much. But he did issue a warning that the club needed to strengthen the defensive. “We face Japan tomorrow, followed by matches against Malaysia, South Korea, and Pakistan. Such simple ambitions cannot be given up.



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