New Delhi, Feb 20: India put on a dominating performance to crush Oman 9-1 for their second consecutive win in the men’s Hero World Hockey League Round 2 at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here Wednesday.
Drag-flickers V.R. Raghunath (3rd, 40th), Rupinder Pal Singh (14th, 38th) and Nitin Thimmaiah (16th, 60th) struck a brace each while Dharamvir Singh (20th), Mandeep Singh (42nd) and Gurjinder Singh (65th) scored goals apiece.
While the score-line reflects India’s domination but the defence still remains dodgy as the 36th ranked Oman made regular inroads but lacked a coordinated attack.
India, who had beaten Fiji 16-0 in the first match, took their points’ tally to six and are comfortably perched at top followed by Ireland.
The top two teams will qualify for the next round to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
India were quick to take the lead, as early as in the second minute, after Raghunath struck from a penalty corner. Nine minutes later, the hosts earned their second penalty corner but Rupinder was off the mark.
India, however, didn’t have to wait too long as Rupinder struck from the penalty corner in the 14th minute as the hosts went up 2-0.
In the next six minutes, Indians sounded the board twice with Thimmaiah and Dharamvir converting well executed moves.
Dharamvir laid the ball outside the D for Thimmaiah, who made a quick run and shot past the onrushing goalkeeper before losing balance.
Dharamvir was again in the thick of action as he struck in the 20th minute after being set up by Mandeep.
At the stroke of half-time, Oman pulled one back from the penalty corner through Mohammad Hubais Al Shar.
The second half also continued in the same rhythm with India piling on the attacks from both the flanks. It took just seven minutes for India to thump in three goals after the lemon break. Rupinder and Raghunath completed their brace as India got two penalty corners in a space of two minutes.
India coach Michael Nobbs agreed that his boys can’t afford to play an open game, like they did against Oman, against other big teams.
“We won big today but we didn’t concentrate much on our structure. There was a time when our nine players were in Oman’s half. We can’t afford to do that against top teams of the world,” he said.
Nobbs was also impressed with neighbours Bangaldesh’s shocking victory over higher-ranked China.
“I was mighty impressed by Bangladesh’s performance. They had exceeded expectations,” he said.
Though Oman never threatened but the way they used the flanks in building up attacks against the World No.11 will be a cause of concern for Nobbs.
Coached by former assistant India coach Oliver Kurtz, a Barcelona Games gold medallist, the Omanis never dropped their shoulders and always showed the intent to comeback despite conceding goals.
On Thursday, Indian men take on Ireland while the women’s team will face Japan in the much-awaited clashes in the tournament.