Asia Cup Under-18 Hockey: Ashraful hat-trick stuns India

Staff Correspondent
Ashraful hat-trick stuns

Bangladesh Under-18 hockey players celebrate after defeating India in their Under-18 Asia Cup Hockey tournament match at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium on Saturday. — New Age photo

Defender Ashraful Islam scored four penalty corner goals including a hat-trick as Bangladesh began their Asia Cup Under-18 Hockey campaign with a pulsating 5-4 win over tournament favourites India at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium on Saturday.
Midfielder Fazle Rabbi netted the other goal for the hosts in the game where Bangladesh won a total of 10 penalty corners.
After wasting their first penalty corner in the very third minute, Ashraful gave the hosts a well deserved lead from the penalty corner in the 16th minute.
However, the lead lasted only for three minutes as Dharminder Singh restored the parity for the Indians by converting a penalty corner.
India went ahead in the match when Konjengbam Singh’s touch following a Dharminder’s hit went into the net in the 25th minute.
Ashraful levelled the margin two minutes later from yet another penalty corner and restored the lead within three minutes with a reminiscent goal to complete his hat-trick.
Bangladesh wasted another scoring opportunity in the 47th minute when Ashraful couldn’t find the target from another penalty corner.
India returned to the game in the 48th minute when Hardik Singh found the back of the net with a superb reverse hit.
Rabbi made it 4-3 in the 50th minute when he connected home on a Rumman’s through but the lead was cancelled out two minutes later though a field goal by Dilpreet Singh.
However, Ashraful found his fourth of the day to seal the victory for the hosts with another neat goal from penalty corner in the 62nd minute.
Ashraful, the man-of-the-match, expressed his joy after recording his first international hat-trick as the defender scored only two goals before this one after making his debut in 2014.
‘For the last one month, I practiced how to perfect my drag and flick shot despite concentrating on defence,’ Ashraful told reporters after the match.
‘Coach told me to concentrate only on penalty corners which helped me to perfect the skill.’
Bangladesh will face Oman in their last Pool ‘A’ match on September 27.
Meanwhile, in the other two matches of the opening day, Pakistan thrashed Chinese Taipei 6-1 while China beat Hong Kong 6-0.

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