RUTHLESS DEMOLITION: India made a strong start to the Olympic qualifiers with a 15-1 thrashing of Singapore. Here, Shivendra Singh celebrates after scoring. Photo: S. Subramanium
Host opens Olympic Qualifiers in authoritative fashion
THE rout was expected and the result was a foregone conclusion. The margin of victory was the only thing to predict and India thumped Singapore, separated by 31 slots in the world ranking, 15-1 to open its campaign in the Olympic qualifier in style.
The verdict at the National Stadium here on Saturday was much bigger than India's 9-0 victory over the same rival in their last meeting in the 1998 Asian Games.
According to statistician B.G. Joshi, this was India's biggest win over Singapore. The previous record was set in 1982 Asia Cup, where India had thrashed the same team 12-0.
Gurvinder Singh Chandi (3), Shivendra Singh (2), S.V. Sunil (2), Danish Mujtaba (2), Yuvraj Walmiki, Tushar Khandker, S.K. Uthappa, Sandeep Singh, Sardar Singh and Birendra Lakra contributed goals in the heavily-tilted affair in favour of India.
If India led half a dozen goals at the break, then it frittered away at least a dozen of chances. The forwards worked like parts of a well-oiled machine and their performance should boost their morale in the testing times ahead. India tried out various combinations and tasted resounding success.
It was a package of non-stop entertainment. The variety of attackers — be it the sharp moving Sunil, the opportune Shivendra and Chandi, the energetic Khandkar, the powerful Uthappa or the intelligent duo of Sarvanjit Singh and Mujtaba — thrilled all.
Chandi, who later adjudged the player of the match, initiated the onslaught when he took advantage of Singapore defenders' distraction and put India ahead in the 10th minute despite missing to connect on first attempt.
That opened up the floodgates and the host went on to pump in nine more goals in the second half. However, Singapore had a few positives to count upon. It will cherish the lone goal scored by Enrico Abdul Lathif Marican, who struck home after receiving a precise cross from the right.
The Singapore custodian Sam Ong, despite experiencing the humiliation of conceding so many goals, was the hero of the match for the lowly side. He made some brave efforts to thwart many an Indian shots at the goal and was a picture of enthusiasm and energy for the full length of the match.
In other matches, Canada trounced Italy 9-0, while France beat Poland 2-1.
The results: Canada 9 (David Jameson 13th minute, Matt Guest-20, 56, Rob Short 34, 57, Hudson Stewart 39, Iain Smythe 54, Phillip Wright 60, Scott Tupper 65) bt Italy 0; France 2 (Hugo Genestet 9, Lucas Sevestre 39) bt Poland 1 (Szymon Oszyjczyk 41); India 15 (Chandi 10, 21 40, Shivendra 18, 30, Danish 25, 52, Sunil 54, 57, Sardar 11, Khandker 42, Sandeep 47, Uthappa 48,Walmiki 53, Lakra 70) bt Singapore 1 (Enrico Marican)
Sunday schedule: Men: Canada vs Poland (12 p.m.); France vs Singapore (4 p.m.); India vs Italy (8 p.m.).
Women: Italy vs Poland (10 a.m.); South Africa vs Ukraine (2 p.m.); India vs Canada (6 p.m.).