Hyderabad: Indian hockey team got off to rousing start when the hosts made mincemeat of African winners Egypt 5-1 in their Afro-Asian Games encounter on Thursday.
Despite missing the services of few key players including mercurial striker Dhanraj Pillay, a new-look Indian team rode on the perfect showing by their forwards to win the match, which was held for the first time under light in India, at the Gacchibowli Stadium.
For India, all the goals came through the three forwards — Prabhjot Singh (5th, 56th), Gagan Ajit Singh (44th, 67th) and Deepak Thakur (38th).
For Egypt, Mohammed Gamal scored the consolation goal in the 50th minute.
India, who have come to the tournament without their captain Pillay and six other members of the maiden Asia Cup title winning team including Baljit Singh Dhillon and Baljit Singh Saini, played superbly under new captain Dilip Tirkey, who himself came up with some fine game as a deep defender.
Earlier, Malaysia were held to a 1-1 draw by South Africa. Korea beat Ghana 3-0 while Pakistan survived a scare before beating Nigeria 4-3.
“We failed to utilise the short corners that came our way but nevertheless we are happy to win the match,” Tirkey said after the match.
Meanwhile, the Indian eves made short work of Ghana to record an emphatic 8-0 win in their opening women’s hockey match as well. Played under overcast conditions, India piled on the misery, pumping in goals at will.
Surinder Kaur sounded the board twice. Captain Surajlata Devi started the scoring spree in the 19th minute. The Indians led 3-0 at the break, netting five more in the second. Sanggai Chanu (27), Jasjeet Kaur (30), Annarita Kerketta (50), Adline Kerketta (64) and Sumai Tete (68) scored one each. (PTI)