New Delhi: India continued their unbeaten streak in the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 with an easy 4-0 win to consolidate their position on top of the leaderboard - before taking on Bangladesh in their last match on Sunday.
Goals from VR Raghunath (12th and 28th minute) in the first half were followed by second-half strikes by Dharamvir Singh (39th) and Rupinderpal Singh (43rd) to complete the facile victory. However, India missed a number of scoring opportunities, including two penalty corners where Manpreet Singh and Gurjinder Singh shot wide.
India maintained a pretty attacking tempo until the last 15 minutes of the match, when rain lashed the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, slowing down the pitch and the pace of the match.
VR Raghunath scored two goals in India's 4-0 win. (Hockey India)
India brought joy and frustration in equal amount in the first half, where beside scoring a couple of goals, the forward line wasted a number of opportunities after Raghunath made it 1-0 on India's their first penalty corner.
Mandeep Singh and Nithin Thimmaih were totally off colour, either misfiring or spoiling a potentially goal-scoring move with an average final pass. Despite that, India were able to double their lead seven minutes before half-time, when Raghunath's final touch at the end of goal-mouth melee found its way inside the Chinese post, beating goalkeeper Rui Xu.
India looked sorted in the second half, scoring twice in the first eight minutes - first through a field goal by Dharamvir and then off a penalty corner, which was slotted into the top left corner of the Chinese goal by Rupinderpal. However, the skies opened up, making the pitch heavier.
China's best chance to score came too late in the day, when they earned their only penalty corner of the match just before the full-time hooter sounded. However, by then India had secured an easy victory amid heavy rain here at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
India's fourth win in a row took their points tally to 12, followed by Ireland on the second place with nine points from four matches. The winner of the tournament is assured of progressing to Round 3, which also doubles up as 2014 World Cup qualifier.