Incheon: Despite drag-flick specialist VR Raghunath missing as many as eight penalty corners and Rupinderpal Singh sustaining a serious thigh injury, India managed a 7-0 victory over minnows Oman in the men's hockey event at the Asian Games, here today.
For India, Rupinderpal (18th, 19th min) successfully converted two penalty corners before limping off the field after scoring the second goal. The unbelievably off-colour Raghunath (39th, 60th min+) managed two goals via penalty stroke and penalty corner.
Akshdeep Singh (33rd), Ramandeep Singh (54th) and Danish Mujtaba (60th) were the other scorers.
The worrying factor for India will be ace drag-flicker Rupinderpal's injury before the crucial game against arch-rivals Pakistan.
After a barren first quarter, India opened the account in the 18th minute when Rupinderpal's rasping drag-flick hit the top of the right side. In the very next minute, he was again on target but was seen in considerable pain after successful conversion. He limped off the field and didn't come back for the rest of the 41 minutes.
However, it was big-bodied Raghunath, who would like to forget this match quickly as he seemed to be on a missing spree as he spurned one drag-flick after another.
There was a spell of five minutes between the 21st and 25th minute when India were successful in earning five penalty corners, but Raghunath missed all five. The last one in fact he even failed to trap.
In the third quarter, Raghunath was saved from blushes when Akshdeep deflected home yet another misdirected penalty corner hit to make it 3-0 in the 33rd minute.
Finally, in the 39th minute (9th minute of 3rd quarter), Raghunath found his name on the scorers' list as he converted a penalty stroke to make it 4-0.
But such has been Raghu's performance today that he could not even manage a smile after scoring.
The final quarter saw India score three more goals with two of them coming in the last minute of the match.
It was ironical that Raghunath finally found the target with the 10th drag-flick and the grumpy defender left the field despite a big margin of victory.