Clinical India maul Italy 8-1 in men`s Olympic qualifier

New Delhi: India continued their goal-scoring spree and predictably walloped minnows Italy 8-1 in a one-sided match of the men`s hockey Olympic Qualification tournament, on Sunday.

After their 15-1 drubbing of Singapore last night, India`s match against Italy was also expected to be a high-scoring affair and it turned out to be one as the home team toyed with the Italian defence in the opening half to pump in as many as six goals as against the visitor`s one.

However, the second half turned out to be a dampener for the Indians as they could manage just two goals even though they penetrated the Italian defence continuously.

The most heartening thing that came out for India from today`s match was their penalty corner conversion rate.

Michael Nobbs wards converted four out of the five penalty corners they earned in the match with Sandeep Singh (4th minute, 22nd, 23rd) alone striking three goals.

Player-of-the-match S V Sunil (30th, 38th) scored two goals while V R Raghunath (12th), Gurvinder Singh Chandi (32nd) and Shivendra Singh (52nd) scored the rest for the hosts. For Italy, Alessandro Nanni scored the consolation goal.

Expectedly, the 41st ranked Italy, who came as a replacement for Egypt in the event, were a mismatch for the eight-time Olympic champions and world ranked 10th, India.

It took India just four minutes to take the lead when Sandeep scored from the home team’s first penalty corner with a powerful low drag-flick to the right of Italian goalkeeper Fabrizio Federici.

The Indians earned another penalty corner soon and this time Raghunath found the back of the opposition net with a fierce flick.