Asian Games 2023, September 19 Updated Results: India thump Cambodia in Volleyball; go down to hosts China in football
It was mixed day for Indian athletes in Hangzhou.
Asian Games 2023, the biggest sporting event in Asia, will begin on September 19 in Hangzhou, China. The event will see more than 10,000 athletes from 45 countries and regions competing in 40 sports and 462 events. India has sent a team of 655 athletes across 41 disciplines, aiming to surpass its previous best medal tally of 70 medals (15 gold, 24 silver and 31 bronze) achieved in the 2018 edition in Jakarta.
Although there are still few days for the continental event to take centre-stage, few sports disciplines have already kickstarted in Hangzhou. On September 19, India took part in two sports: men’s football and men’s volleyball.
Here is a summary of India’s performance and results from Asian Games 2023 in these sports:
India faced a crushing defeat against hosts China in their first match of Group A at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre. China routed India by 5-1, with four goals coming in the second half. The hosts took the lead in the 16th minute through Gao Tianyi, who netted from a rebound after Indian goalkeeper Gurmeet Singh saved his initial shot.
The Blue Tigers equalized in the first-half injury time, when Rahul KP scored a brilliant goal from outside the box. However, China dominated the second half and scored four more goals through Dai Weijun, Tao Qianglong (2) and Fang Hao. India will play against Bangladesh in their next match on September 21.
The match started with both teams trying to gain control of the midfield and create chances. China had the first shot on target in the fifth minute, when Tao Qianglong tested Gurmeet with a low drive from outside the box.
China broke the deadlock in the 17th minute, when Gao Tianyi scored from a rebound after Gurmeet saved an initial shot. First, another cross from the left saw Qianglong volley at goal from close range, and again Gurmeet parried it away. From the resultant corner came the goal. Weijun headed the delivery across the goal straight into the path of Gao Tianyi who volleyed from inside the six-yard box to give them the lead.
Chasing the game, India were forced to commit more to the attack and it proved costly in the 24th minute, when a wayward pass from the back saw Long bear down on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat. Gurmeet infringed upon the attacker conceding a penalty, and then quickly redeemed himself by saving Weijun’s effort.
India tried to equalize and created some chances through Rahul KP. However, they could not find the final touch or test the Chinese goalkeeper, Chen Wei. China also had some opportunities to extend their lead, but Gurmeet made some crucial saves to keep India in the game.
It proved to be the catalyst India perhaps needed. China became overly cautious and India’s midfield caught some much-needed space. In injury time, Abdul Anjukandan played a ball over the top to release Rahul KP running in from the right. The winger took the ball and in one clean motion shot at goal. He had a defender, a goalkeeper and a narrow angle to beat and he went three for three, leaving the stadium stunned at the break. India were level.
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The second half started with China looking more aggressive and determined to regain their lead. They did so in the 49th minute, when Dai Weijun scored from long range to spark jubilation in the stands. From there on the hosts took a stranglehold on the game, denying India’s tiring squad the ball and forcing them into long periods of defending.
In the 72nd minute, Wang Haijian shot again from distance, his effort deflecting en route to the Indian goal. Gurmeet adjusted brilliantly to parry, but unfortunately for him the ball fell straight into the path of an onrushing Qianglong who tapped it in.
Qianglong added a second to his tally with a kneed volley three minutes later to effectively kill the game. H Fang added a fifth in injury time to compound India’s misery in a game they deserved more from than they got.
India started their campaign on a positive note, as they beat Cambodia by 3-0 in their first match of Group C at the China Textile City Sports Centre Gymnasium. India won the first set by 25-14, the second set by 25-13 and the third set by 25-19. India showed their superiority over the lower-ranked team, with Ashwal Rai leading the way with some impressive blocks and spikes. India will face South Korea in their second match on September 20.
The match started with India taking an early lead in the first set, thanks to some powerful serves and attacks by Ashwal Rai and Jerome Vinith. Cambodia tried to fight back, but they could not cope with the speed and accuracy of the Indian players. India won the first set by 25-14, with Ashwal Rai scoring seven points.
The second set was more of the same, as India continued to dominate Cambodia with their superior skills and tactics. Cambodia made some errors in their reception and defence, which allowed India to score easy points. India won the second set by 25-13, with Jerome Vinith scoring six points.
The third set was more competitive, as Cambodia showed some resilience and spirit. They managed to keep pace with India for most of the set and even took a brief lead at 15-14. However, India regained their composure and finished the set strongly, with some crucial points from Amit Gulia and Ajith Lal C. India won the third set by 25-19, with Amit Gulia scoring five points.
The Indian team consists of players who have been part of the senior national team as well as the Pro Volleyball League (PVL) clubs. Some of the key players for India are Ashwal Rai (Calicut Heroes), Prince (Ahmedabad Defenders), Jerome Vinith (Chennai Spartans), Ranjit Singh (Hyderabad Black Hawks), Amit Gulia (U Mumba Volley) and Ajith Lal C (Kochi Blue Spikers).
The Asian Games is considered one of the most competitive tournaments for Asian volleyball teams, as it features some of the world-class teams like Iran, Japan, and China. The last time India participated in the men’s volleyball event at the Asian Games was in 2018 when they finished seventh. India’s best performance in the men’s volleyball event was in 1962 when they won the silver medal.