India rout Canada in Junior W' Cup

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> India thrash Canada 5-0 in their opening match at the Tasmania Hockey Centre in Hobart today.

Updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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India were off to a flying start in the 7th Junior World Cup Hockey tournament thrashing Canada 5-0 in their opening match at the Tasmania Hockey Centre here today. The Indians, runners-up to hosts Australia in the last edition of the tournament in 1997, dominated the proceedings throughout and scored four field goals besides converting one penalty corner. Prabhjot Singh, with two field goals, and Jugraj Singh who scored one each off a field and a penalty corner, shared the spoils with Deepak Thakur also earning a name in the scorers' list with a field goal. Canada had their chances with three penalty corners but the Indian defence, though erratic in patches, was solid enough to squash any challenge. In the other matches of the day, hosts Australia were shocked when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Ireland. The other matches went with form as England got the better of Chile 5-2 while Spain did not have to exert much in their 8-0 rout of Scotland. Coach Rajinder Singh was a pleased man after the match but was also a trifle disappointed as he felt the Indian forwards could have used more space in creating moves to score more goals. "They played to plan but it could have been good for the forwards to score more. In hockey, nothing feels better than scoring goals. And the goals could have put them in a more confident mood for the matches ahead," the coach said. Singh said he would have also liked a little more thrust in the midfield with the defence falling back faster. "Sometimes you get complacent when the goals are coming and once we were 4-0 up, I could see a few players relaxing. We cannot afford that in the tough matches. I hope they learn from today and put in their best," he said. India took the lead in the 12th minute when a free hit from the midfield sped into the Canadian circle where the defence scrambled with Deepak Thakur getting the ball onto his stick and the resultant flick entering the goal. Exactly a minute later, a free ball was sent to the wings by Bimal Lakra where Prabhjot Singh latched on and after a brilliant run down the left flank that left the Canadian defence gasping, found himself in the circle. Before the Canadians could react, Prabhjot hit a clean, crisp reverse shot that beat the goalkeeper. India had a couple of chances in the circle but the Canadian defence regrouped well and were successful in keeping the Indian forwards, Prabhjot, Deepak Thakur and Gagan Ajit Singh, at bay. Prabhjot was once again at it in the 25th minute when a reverse shot again beat the goalkeeper as India went up 3-0. India earned two penalty corners in the first half but both were wasted. At the break, India led 3-0. The Indians started slowly and seemed a little relaxed and that was one reason why they failed to score in the early minutes of the second half. The midfield kept possession too long giving time to their Canadian counterparts to tackle them. India earned their fourth penalty corner in the 42nd minute and Jugraj finally found the target with a drag flick that didn't rise much but had enough pace to beat the goalkeeper. Off a counter-attack, Canada had a penalty corner in the 45th minute but couldn't stop the ball cleanly and squandered the chance. India's fifth goal came in the 55th minute when the entire midfield almost tore through the Canadian defence. But a clearance from the Canadians found Jugraj, who after going past a defender, hit a powerful shot that was bang on target. Canada tried to get a consolation goal and earned two penalty corners in the last five minutes but the Indian defence was alert enough to thwart their attack. (PTI)

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