FIH Series Finals: As it happened- India beats South Africa 5-1; wins gold medal

As Varun Kumar and Harmanpreet Singh stuck a brace each along with Vivek Prasad scoring one too, India won the gold medal at the FIH Series Finals in Bhubaneswar. Here's how the action unfolded.

India made the cut for the Olympic Qualifiers by reaching the summit clash at the FIH Series Finals in Bhubaneswar.   -  Hockey India Twitter

Hello and welcome to the live scores and updates of the FIH Series Final finale between India and South Africa. Our correspondent Samarendranath Soory is at the Kalinga Stadium, where the match begins at 7:15 PM IST. This is Manasi Pathak, and I will be delivering live text commentary for this clash. Stay tuned!

 

 

- That's all from our side. This is Manasi Pathak signing off. Thanks for tuning in and see you later!

- With this win, India has won the points which should keep it in the top five of the FIH World Rankings, to be updated in September. For South Africa, it will look to build on this performance by defending its African Championship title in August.

- Thats it! India is the champion of the 2019 FIH Series Finals, Bhubaneswar. It has been the strongest performance from the home team in the tournament. Two goals from Harmanpreet Singh and a dynamic midfield laid the foundation for a whirlwind first quarter which left the South Africans unable to recover. Richard Pautz's fourth quarter goal was a mere consolation.

FULL TIME: INDIA 5-1 SOUTH AFRICA. India wins the FIH Series Finals in Bhubaneswar by beating South Africa. Goals from Varun Kumar (2), Harmanpreet Singh (2) and Vivek Prasad witnessed.

57' PC for South Africa. Austin Smith's dragflick was tame and lacked speed in it as Surender Kumar easily clears the attempt.

53' GOAL! INDIA 5-1 SOUTH AFRICA. Richard Pautz gets his name on the scoresheet as South Africa converts from its second penalty corner. This is only the fourth goal India has conceded in the tournament.

50' GOAL! INDIA 5-0 SOUTH AFRICA. Varun Kumar adds his second of the night, as India converts from a penalty corner. South African players claim a dangerous ball as Spooner is hit on the shoulder from Varun Kumar's dragflick but the umpire waits for the video umpire's call and declares it as a clean hit. India is finally coming to grips with executing variations in the penalty corners.

 

46' The final quarter is underway. India enjoying a comfortable four-goal lead.

- India managed to keep a tight grip on the match, despite South Africa creating some really good chances. Gurjant and Gursahibjit need to shake off their markers quickly to create more chances

- End of Q3 -

44' Akashdeep slots the ball in from the rebound off the goalkeeper but the umpire calls it off owing to a foul which was committed earlier.

43' MISSED! Mandeep Singh fails to provide the final touch to the ball which was sent in from the corner. The player hasn't had a match to remember.

41' PC for India as Vivek Prasad is brought down by Smith Austin. Nothing comes off it as South Africa goalkeeper blocks it through his pads.

 

37' Simranjeet Singh makes up for his missed chance in the second quarter with a smart backpass for Vivek Prasad to tap in from point blank. The Kalinga Stadium has turned up the volume on its "Indiaaaa, India!" chorus.

36' GOAL! INDIA 4-0 SOUTH AFRICA. Vivek Prasad adds the fourth goal as he taps the ball in, after Simranjeet Singh kept the ball rolling in the inner circle.

34' The Japanese team can be seen in attendance at the Kalinga Stadium. Japan won the bronze medal today by beating USA in the playoff decider for the third spot.

32' OVER! South Africa attacks from the right channel before Richard Pautz is fed a ball right in front of goal. He however sends it over the goal.

31' The third quarter is underway. India will look to extend its lead. The win will help it improve its world ranking.

- "India has taken off its foot off the pedal in the second quarter after a breathtaking first quarter. South Africa has been unable to create much apart from two shots on the goal but India custodian Krishan Pathak was ready for it," says Samarendranath Soory, our hockey correspondent, from Odisha.

HALF TIME: INDIA 3-0 SOUTH AFRICA - Varun Kumar (2'), Harmanpreet Singh (11', 25').

30' Off goes the hooter and the teams leave the field at the end of second quarter. India leads by three goals, thanks to Varun Kumar, and Harmanpreet Singh (2).

29' From the right channel, Richard Pautz sends a ball diagonally for Nicholas Spooner on the opposite channel. Spooner stretches as much as he can, but fails to connect. Unlucky!

25'  GOAL! INDIA 3-0 SOUTH AFRICA. Penalty stroke for India as Harmanpreet Singh adds his second of the night. A stick check by South Africa inside the circle forces the umpire to award a penalty stroke to India Harmanpreet makes no mistake from the spot as he goes for bottom right corner and finishes off in style. India up by three now!

24' Gurjant Singh, who makes an appearance today in place of the injured Sumit, gets the green card, and India is down to ten men. This is the first time any Indian player has been carded in this tournament.

18' Chance for Simranjit Singh to penetrate the inner circle but South Africa's Dlungwana Tyson clears the danger.

16' The second quarter is underway. In case you have joined now, India is leading thanks to goals from Varun Kumar and Harmanpreet Singh.

- "This has been the strongest start to a match India has had in the tournament. The energetic midfield has been the difference which has never allowed South Africa to settle down," comments our reporter Samarendranath from Odisha.

-End of Q1-

12' The host has not put a foot wrong in the final. The ball retention from India so far has been excellent, particularly Vivek Prasad has been the lynchpin in the midfield.

11' GOAL! INDIA 2-0 SOUTH AFRICA. Harmanpreet Singh adds the second. Mandeep Singh wins the PC for India and from it, Ramandeep Singh injects the ball in. A clever, confident Harmanpreet Singh keeps his flick high, as he sees the South African goalkeeper going low. Harmanpreet gets the better of the goalkeeper, and India doubles its lead.

9' Ouch! Matthew de Sousa is unlucky to loose his footing after what looked like South Africa's first meaningful attack down the left flank.

7' Brilliant start by the host as it seems that it had reserved its best for the final. Varun Kumar's penalty corner did not have much variation in it but was a result of smart placement into the bottom right corner. The Indian players look hungry as the high press has pushed South Africa on the back-foot, says our correspondent Samarendranath. from the Kalinga Stadium.

5' Ramandeep Singh attacks from the right channel, as he sprints his way through. He sends in a cross for Akashdeep Singh in front of goal, but Akashdeep sends it wide of the target.

2' GOAL! INDIA 1-0 SOUTH AFRICA. Varun Kumar finds the net as Ramandeep Singh injects the ball in from a penalty corner. Nilkanta Sharma halts the ball for Varun, who aims for the bottom left corner, and succeeds at doing so. India leads!

2' Manpreet Singh shoots from a long range but misses the mark. He calls for a PC, but the umpire is not impressed.

1' PUSHBACK! Here we go, folks.

- The Kalinga Stadium is filled to the brim. Despite securing a spot for the Olympic Qualifiers, world no. 5 India needs to win this match for the FIH World Rankings points which will help in playing the qualifiers at home.

- Manpreet Singh leads the Indian team out, while Tim Drummon guides his South African side out. The national anthems will follow now.

- NOTE: Sumit has been ruled out of today's fixture owing to a fracture on his right hand. Gurjant Singh replaces Sumit in midfield.

INDIA XI: Surender Kumar, Manpreet Singh (C), Mandeep Singh, Krishan Pathak (GK), Nilakanta Sharma, Varun Kumar, Gurinder Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh,  Vivek Prasad, Harmanpreet Singh

- Our correspondent Samarendranath Soory brings us the line-up for today. Watch out for team news.

 

- With pushback less than ten minutes away, the players are out on the field. Stay tuned.

READ | Hockey Series Finals: Graham Reid satisfied India's performance in 7-2 triumph

- The 7-2 result against Japan made coach Graham Reid pleased with the result, especially the team's ability to dig deep. “It was good game today. I am very happy for the young players for scoring (Hardik and Gursahibjit). It is the first time where I was almost satisfied,” he said.

READ | Hockey Olympic Qualifiers likely in October or November

-  The draw for the qualifiers will be held in September (date to be decided) after the updated world rankings are released on September 8.

READ |  FIH Series Finals: India defeats Japan 7-2 in semis; seals Olympic Qualifiers spot

- India reached the final of this tournament by beating Japan 7-2 last night. Irrespective of the result today, India has sealed a spot in the Olympic Qualifiers.

- The last time India and South Africa met, India recorded its biggest victory against South Africa by winning 5-0.

- India has played South Africa in 43 matches, where India won 26 times while South Africa won eight matches. Nine matches ended in a draw. (Courtesy: Credits: B.G. Joshi)

READ | FIH Women's Series Finals: India beats Uruguay 4-1 in campaign opener

- Good evening, folks. After Indian women's team defeated Uruguay earlier today in Hiroshima, the action now shifts to Bhubaneswar where the Indian men's team is pitted against South Africa in the final of FIH Series Finals. Pushback is at 7:15 PM IST.