India brought joy to their home fans with an impressive 10-0 success over Russia in their first game of the men’s International Hockey Federation (FIH) Series Finals event in Bhubaneswar.
The hosts opened the scoring shortly before the end of the opening quarter of the Pool A clash at Kalinga Stadium, thanks to a nice deflection in the air from Nilakanta Sharma.
The second quarter started with India on the front foot, thanks to goals from Simranjeet Singh and Amit Rohidas.
It then took less than 90 seconds of the second half for them to score again, courtesy of a fine drag-flick from Harmanpreet Singh following a penalty corner.
Only two minutes later, it was the same scenario, with Varun Kumar getting the final shot this time.
India seemed unstoppable and scored three more goals before the end of the third quarter through Gursahibjit Singh, Akashdeep Singh and Vivek Prasad.
The last quarter saw no change in the pattern of the game as Harmanpreet Singh added a second goal to his tally and Akashdeep Singh also registered with a remarkable shot from the edge of the circle.
Ten goals is the highest number scored by one team in one game among all FIH Series Finals matches played so far.
"We did not expect that because we know that Russia has a good defence because they are playing many indoor games," India’s captain Manpreet Singh said.
"The crowd here is always amazing and they always support us, so I want to tell them 'thank you so much for your support'."
In today's other Pool A game, Poland claimed a 4-0 win over Uzbekistan, the lowest-ranked team of the tournament at world number 43.
Poland took the lead in the fifth minute with a drag-flick from captain Pawel Bratkowski following a penalty corner.
The second quarter was mostly dominated by the European side and Mateusz Hulbój scored the second goal for his team after another penalty corner.
The second half confirmed Poland’s domination with Bratkowski adding another goal to his tally, a similar effort to his previous goal.
Converting next was Hulbój, who scored with a stunning shot from distance which flew in millimetres under the crossbar.
The first game of the day sawcontinental champions South Africa take on the United States in Pool B with the latter registering a 2-0 victory.
Christian De Angelis scored the first goal early in the final quarter, following a penalty corner.
From then on, the Americans made every effort to control the game and continued to defend well against a South African team trying everything to secure a more favourable result.
Instead of that, it was the US who ensured their success with a second goal, this time from Paul Singh, shortly before the end of the match.
Action is due to continue tomorrow with two matches in Pool A – Russia against Uzbekistan and Poland against India – and one in Pool B – Japan against Mexico.