India thrash Canada 4-0 in junior hockey WC

Hockey India

Hosts India started their campaign on a confident note by defeating Canada 4-0 in their opening Pool D match of the Junior Hockey World Cup at the Major Dhyan Chand Astroturf Stadium in Lucknow on Thursday.

India scored through Mandeep Singh (35th minute), Harmanpreet Singh (46th), Varun Kumar (60th) and Ajit Pandey (66th) to secure three points from the match.

The game started 15 minutes earlier than the scheduled time due to dense fog.

Canada, who have 13 Indian-origin players in their 18-member squad, sat back and relied on counter attacks during much of the game.

India had the first chance in the fourth minute but Armaan Qureshi's reverse hit from close range struck the side netting.

The hosts earned two back-to-back penalty corners in the 12th minute, but Harmanpreet Singh's tries were saved by Canadian goalkeeper Iqwinder Gill.

Mandeep Singh, who has played for the senior side on many occasions in the past, then came close to giving India the lead, but his reverse shot from a goal-mouth melee was saved by Gill.

India eventually scored in the final minute of the first half through Mandeep, who found himself in the right position to hand India the lead from a move initiated by Harmanpreet.

India stepped up the pressure after the change of ends and missed a few chances in the initial periods of the second half. In the 44th minute, skipper Harjeet Singh missed an opportunity when he shot wide from inside the circle.

Harmanpreet then scored off a penalty corner to double India's lead. Varun scored from India's fifth penalty corner after Harjeet fumbled in stopping the push. Four minutes from the final hooter, Ajit made it 4-0 after receiving a pass from Manpreet (Jr).

India will face England in their next pool match on Saturday.