Rourkela: The Indian hockey team thrashed Japan 8-0 in its 9-16th place classification match of the FIH Men's Hockey World Cup 2023 at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium, here on Thursday.
Mandeep Singh (32'), Abhishek (35', 43'), Vivek Sagar Prasad (39') and Harmanpreet Singh (45', 58'), Manpreet Singh (58') and Sukhjeet Singh (59') were the goal scorers for India.
Japan and India played an even contest in the first quarter with both teams showing offensive intent but neither team could manage to create a clear scoring opportunity. India had the best chances through two penalty corners, but they were well chased down by the Japanese rushers.
The second quarter was much of the same as both India and Japan found ways to get into the opposition circle, but were instantly hounded by opposing defences. Both teams earned penalty corners early in the second quarter as well, but the rush defences from both sides reigned supreme as the teams headed into the break on 0-0.
India won an early penalty corner in the second half and they went for a variation on the far post with Amit Rohidas passing to Mandeep who lifted the ball over the keeper and into the net to open the scoring for the hosts.
India scored a quick second goal, as a poor turnover in their own half by Japan gave Manpreet the ball and he found Abhishek in the circle who had all the time and space needed to calmly score on the reverse.
Abhishek scored his second and India's fourth goal in the 44th minute, bringing up the 200th goal of this World Cup.India scored 4 more goals in the final quarter as Harmanpreet (twice) and Sukhjeet found the target from penalty corners, while Manpreet Singh scored a field goal that deflected in off a Japanese stick.
"Very happy with the win, scoring 8 goals in the second half will give us a big boost for the next game as well," said Abhishek, who got player of the match award.
India will play South Africa next in the 9th-12th place classification match on Saturday.