India started their title defense in style, as they routed Oman by 11-0 scoreline. Dilpreet Singh scored a hat-trick by helping defending champions India begin their campaign at the Asian Champions Trophy in Muscat on Thursday.
Oman started the match by putting up a stern defense, thus keeping Indian striker at bay. Their discipline in defense meant they did not concede a single goal in the first half. For India, though, the opportunity came in the second quarter when they opened their account in the 17th minute after Lalit Upadhyay scored through open play. The hosts conceded three more goals following that in the second quarter of the match played on Thursday night. Harmanpreet Singh (22’) put the ball in the back of the net with a low drag-flick. The second goal was by Nilakanta Sharma (23’), who flicked in during a goalmouth scrimmage and Mandeep Singh (30’), who capitalized on a pass from the right flank.
After a blitzkrieg second quarter, it was all Dilpreet show, who scored three goals (41’, 55’ and 57’) in quick succession. The youngster was outright adjudged Man of the Match. Also on target were Gurjant Singh (37’), Akashdeep Singh (27’), Varun Kumar (49’) and Chinglensana Singh (53’).
An elated Dilpreet, who won his first Man of the Match award for the senior national team, Dilpreet credited his teammates for creating opportunities. “It was not just an individual effort,” he said, “My teammates created the openings for me to score the goals.”
India’s coach Harendra Singh expressed his joy on starting the tournament with a big win. “We are happy to start in this manner, but tougher competition is ahead of us,” he said, adding his disappointment with the lack of goals in the first half.
India now will face their biggest challenge in the competition in the face of a clash against arch-rivals Pakistan today.