Indian men’s hockey team today beat Bangladesh 4-1 in their opening match of the 12th South Asian Games to warm up for their big match against Pakistan here tomorrow.
The Indians did not exert much in the match against the lowly Bangladesh and they led 3-0 at the halfway mark through goals from Pradhan Sommanna (10th), Gaganpreet Singh (27th penalty corner) and Nilam Sanjeev Xess (30th penalty corner).
Bangladesh pulled one back in the third quarter through Milon (42nd). Mohd Umar scored another goal for India to make it 4-1 at the Moullana Tayabullah Stadium.
Tomorrow, India play arch-rivals Pakistan in the marquee match of the Games.
India are seeking to end their gold medal drought in the last two editions. Pakistan, on the other hand, would aim for a hat-trick of titles as they had beaten India in the final in both the 2006 and 2010 editions.
In another match today, Pakistan beat Sri Lanka 3-0 through goals from Tasawar Abbas (12th), Syed Kashif Shah (19th) and Mohd Arshlan Qadir (50th).
In the women’s section also, India began their campaign with a 24-0 mauling of lowly Nepal in a completely lopsided league match.
Strikers Soundarya Yendala (15th, 52nd, 62nd and 64th minutes) and Poonam Barla (7th, 472nd, 43rd and 51st) scored the most with four strikes each. Four players Rani (2nd, 46th and 48th), Jaspreet Kaur (4th, 35th and 56th), Neha Goyal (14th, 22nd and 70th) and Deepika (53rd, 62nd and 67th) scored thrice each while Gurjit Kaur (21st and 41st) and Preeti Dubey (23rd and 29th) got the other goals for India.
The home side play their last league match against Sri Lanka, another minnows, tomorrow. Only three women’s teams are competing in the Games and India are expected to walk away with the gold.