The Indian junior u-18 Hockey team began their Asia Cup 2016 journey against Bangladesh on Saturday in Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium, Dhaka. As announced, The Indian squad was captained by young defender Nilam Sanjeep Xess in the inaugural match of the fourth edition of the prestigious u-18 Asia Cup tournament.
The Odisha-born player was assisted by defender Hardik Singh as the vice-captain in the tournament. The duo was part of EurAsia Cup-winning junior team earlier this year.
The South Asian neighbor Bangladesh participated in the competition after a long 15 years. Bangladesh started the match on a brighter note as Ashraful Islam found the back of net in the first half. However, the men in Blue equalized the score in a hurry as Dharminder Singh struck a penalty stroke goal in the 23rd minute, making the score 1-1.
The first half saw both of the teams carrying out a great defensive display. Somehow, the Indian team discovered a way to break the Bangladeshi deadlock as Konjengbam Singh added a field goal to the scoresheet, forcing the neighbors to go down 2 to 1. Bangladesh too leveled the score in a few minutes as Islam scored a penalty corner goal in the 32nd minute.
The Bangladeshi team used all the help they could master experienced senior side players as they came back with an early lead in the second half with Ashraful Islam scoring a hattrick.
The match proved to be a goal fest as India equalized with a screamer by vice-captain Hardik Singh in the 49th minute. Bangladesh took back the lead in the next minute courtesy to a goal by Fazla Hossain Rabby.
The goal fest continued as India again came back at the game against their neighbors with a late strike from Dilpreet Singh, making the score 4-4. Ashraful Islam scored the decisive goal.as Bangladesh handed India a shocking defeat in the end by the score of 5-4.
According to Livemint, Hockey India looks forward to the Hockey Junior World Cup in 2016 and Asia Cup Hockey is the Indian governing body’s way of preparing the youth for the tournament in December. India is will face Oman in the next Pool A match.
The Indian team for the U-18 Asia Cup Hockey is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Pankaj Kumar Rajak, Tanuj Gulia
Defenders: Nilam Sanjeep Xess (Captain), Hardik Singh (vice-captain), Vidhan Patel, Harshdeep Kapoor, Shivam Anand
Midfielders: Dharminder Singh, Kunwardilraj Singh, Rabichandra Singh Moirangthem, Kishore Arya, Harish Mutagar
Forwards: Dilpreet Singh, Mohammad Umar, Ibungo Singh Konjengbam, Sunny Malik, Shivam Anand, Abhisek