Dragflicker Harmanpreet Singh slammed a hattrick as India humiliated a lowly Oman 9-0 to enter the semifinal of the eighth junior men’s Asia Cup hockey tournament, in Kauntan on Thursday.
Besides, Harmanpreet who found the opposition net thrice in the seventh, 12th and 50th minutes, the other goal scorers for India in the quartefinal contest were Arman Qureshi (10th), Gurjant Singh (18th), Santa Singh (22nd), Mandeep Singh (30th), skipper Harjeet Singh (45th) and Mohammad Umar (54th).
The Indian colts will now face Japan in the first semifinal on Saturday.
India started on an attacking note and was rewarded with a penalty stroke in the initial minutes of the game which was clinically converted by Harmanpreet Singh.
The Indians continued their goal fest as Harmanpreet struck again by converting a penalty corner 15 minutes into the opening half.
The Indians toyed with Oman’s defence and pumped in four more goals to take a commanding 6-0 lead at halftime.
Apart from Harmanpreet, Armaan, Gurjant, Santa and Mandeep were the other goal getters in the first half.
India continued in the same vein after the change of ends with Harjeet making the scoreline 7-0 in his team’s favour 11 minutes into the second half.
Harmanpreet then converted another penalty corner to score his first hattrick in the tournament.
Umar then scored a field goal to round off the tally for India.
“The performance against Oman will give us a lot of confidence. A win with such a huge margin will help us come back to the training grounds with a lot of energy and strive for more in the upcoming semifinal. We are taking one step at a time and our energies are now just focussed on converting the semifinal encounter to our favour,” said Indian junior men’s hockey team’s coach Harendra Singh.
Harmanpreet’s hat-trick against Oman took his tally of goals to nine in the tournament, thereby making him the highest scorer for India.