Salalah: In a dominating display of hockey prowess, Team India asserted its supremacy in the men’s Asian Hockey 5s World Cup Qualifiers, securing a formidable spot in the semifinals after a triumphant double-header on Thursday.
The day’s action commenced with an intense face-off against Malaysia, where India secured a hard-fought victory with a scoreline of 7-5. Gurjot Singh emerged as a star with an impressive performance, netting five goals (7th, 11th, 17th, 29th, 30th). Accompanying the goal spree were contributions from Maninder Singh (12th) and Mohammed Raheel (21st). Malaysia countered with goals from Arif Ishak (6th), Ismail Abu (7th), Muhamad Din (8th), Kamarulzaman Kamaruddin (26th), and Syarman Mat (30th).
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In the subsequent clash against Japan, the Indian team unleashed an absolute goal-scoring frenzy, overwhelming their opponent with a resounding 35-1 victory. Maninder Singh led the charge with an astonishing ten goals (1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 9th, 15th, 20th, 24th, 25th, 29th), while Mohammed Raheel displayed his scoring prowess with seven goals (3rd, 4th, 11th, 12th, 17th, 26th, 26th).
Pawan Rajbhar (2nd, 6th, 10th, 13th, 23rd) and Gurjot Singh (12th, 20th, 21st, 27th, 30th) showcased their abilities with five goals each, while Sukhvinder (4th, 8th, 16th, 22nd) added another five goals. Captain Mandeep Mor (18th, 23rd, 29th) and Jugraj Singh (15th) also made their mark on the scoreboard. Masataka Kobori (29th) scored Japan’s solitary goal in the match.
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With these commanding victories, India secured a second-place finish in the Elite pool standings with 12 points. This achievement guaranteed them a direct entry into the semifinals of the tournament, slated for Saturday. The team’s spectacular performance serves as a testament to their skill and determination on the field, setting the stage for a captivating semifinal showdown.
(With Inputs From PTI)