Kuantan (Malaysia), Nov 17 (IANS) The Indian hockey team earned their third consecutive win of the eighth Junior Asia Cup by displaying a strong performance to defeat China 4-1 in their final Pool A match at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium here on Tuesday.
The Indian colts, who beat Japan and Malaysia in their previous two encounters, were powered by Manpreet Singh, who fired in a brace, while Harmanpreet Singh and Ajit Pandey scored one goal apiece to ensure India top Pool A before their quarterfinal encounter on Thursday. India started on an attacking note, pressing hard on the weak Chinese defence but could only convert in the 16th minute through a penalty corner via Harmanpreet.
The first half did not see any more goals being scored and ended 1-0 in favour of India. India raced through to score their second goal through Ajit Pandey in the 32nd minute. However, China struck back soon in the 43rd minute, through a penalty corner from the stick of Haifeng Guo. This propelled India to increase their tempo, leading to two more goals in quick succession from Manpreet.
“It is good that we have continued with our winning momentum. It gets tougher from here and we all realise that we now enter the knockout zone hence every match is a new championship for us,” said India coach Harendra Singh. “I am glad that the boys stuck to the basics and were confident in paving through the opponent’s defence. We head back now to prepare for the quarterfinals and hopefully we will have enough to rejoice after that match as well.”