Russia recovered quickly from their 10-0 defeat against hosts India yesterday by beating Uzbekistan by an even bigger margin of 12-1 in Pool A of the men’s International Hockey Federation Series Finals event in Bhubaneswar.
Semen Matkovskiy opened the scoring for Russia through a drag-flick from a penalty corner shortly before the end of the first quarter and it was a matter of seconds before they doubled the score thanks to Alexander Skiperskiy.
Russia increased their advantage during the second quarter with Matkovskiy, Sergey Lepeshkin, Skiperskiy and Alexey Sobolevskiy finding the target in quick succession at Kalinga Stadium.
Matkovskiy then scored his third goal before half-time, following a penalty corner.
To their credit, the plethora of conceded goals did not undermine the Uzbek players' morale and their efforts were rewarded when Khakimboy Khakimov scored with a drag-flick from a penalty corner just prior to halftime.
The Russians showed no sign of slowing down in the second half and they added five more goals to their tally with a deflection from Mikhail Proskuriakov, an unstoppable close-range shot from Marat Khairullin, two consecutive drag-flicks from a penalty corner from Matkovskiy, and a final goal from Denis Starienko one minute before the end.
For their last Pool A game, Russia will take on Poland, who lost 3-1 against India today, on Sunday (June 9).
"It means a lot for us to have a positive goal difference before the game against Poland because it will be the game which decides our fate," Russia’s Pavel Golubev said.
"We have a day off tomorrow, so we’ll have enough time to recover and analyse our first two games.
"I think and I hope that we will be prepared enough to beat Poland."
#FIHSeriesFinals #India #Odisha #Bhubaneswar— International Hockey Federation (@FIH_Hockey) June 7, 2019
Japan’s Head Coach Siegfried Aikman: “We are happy that we won, but that’s it. Mexico deserved more. Hats-off to Mexico how they started this tournament. They are not even here with the strongest team, so this is amazing.”@jha_hockey pic.twitter.com/1H3rxVELmj
In today's other Pool A match, India opened the scoring against Poland in the second quarter when captain Manpreet Singh slotted home after Polish goalkeeper Maciej Pacanowski had made a great save following a penalty corner.
Nevertheless, the hosts did not make the most of several opportunities they created thereafter and that paved the way for their opponents to equalise through the always-dangerous Mateusz Hulbój, who benefitted from a mistake by the India defence.
India instantly went back on the attack and once again the experienced skipper Singh led the way, concluding a brilliant combination with Mandeep Singh with a fine shot to re-establish the one-goal advantage.
The home team managed to add another goal in the third quarter with Harmanpreet Singh finding the target from another penalty corner.
Action also continued in Pool B today with Japan overcoming a much lower-ranked Mexico 3-1 to earn a share of the standings lead with the United States.
It was Mexico who opened the scoring with a goal from Erik Hernández only three minutes into the game.
But that advantage was of the briefest duration as in the same minute of play, Hirotaka Zendana, who celebrated his 100th cap for Japan, equalised with a drag-flick from a penalty corner.
Japan continued to raise the tempo and took the lead with a penalty stroke – the first one of the tournament – from Shota Yamada.
Zendana then added a second goal to his tally with a penalty corner early in the second half.
Competition is due to continue tomorrow with two matches in Pool B – the US against Mexico and Japan against South Africa.