India made a winning start in the Hero Asia Cup 2017 as the two-time champion outplayed Japan 5-1 in the event’s inaugural game at Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium in Dhaka. Harmanpreet Singh scored twice, while SV Sunil, Lalit Upadhyay and Ramandeep Singh scored a goal each t give India a thumping victory.
The opening match of Pool A also marked the return of Asia’s biggest hockey event to Dhaka after a span of 32 years. India’s first goal game in the 3rd as a result of a counter initiated by Akashdeep Singh. He played a forward pass to SV Sunil, who then went past the goalkeeper before scoring. But India’s delight lasted for only a minute when Kenji Kitazato cancelled the lead from a counter-attack.
Both the teams looked threatening in the second quarter, trying to take the lead in the match. In the 23rd minute, Lalit Upadhyay put India ahead again with a reverse hit.
The third quarter went India’s way as they scored in the 32nd minute. This time Ramandeep Singh extended the lead when his drive from the right-side deflected off Japan defender Genki Mitani before hitting the back of the net.
The Indian team then won a penalty corner in the 35th minute which was converted by drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh to make it 4-1. Harmanpreet completed the rout in the 48th minute from another penalty corner.
India will play Bangladesh in their next Pool A match on Friday.