FIH Pro League: India thrashes France 5-0

India is off to a winning start in the FIH Pro League Hockey with a 5-0 defeat of France in Potchefstroom, South Africa.

Manpreet Singh in action during the FIH Pro League contest on Tuesday. - HOCKEY INDIA

India got off to a winning start in the FIH Pro League Hockey, thrashing France 5-0 here on Tuesday.

After a barren first quarter, India slammed three goals in the second before finding the target twice in the third. India got four penalty corners in the match and converted two of them. France got three PCs but couldn’t manage a single goal.

Harmanpreet Singh and Varun Kumar scored from penalty corners in the 21st and 24th minute, respectively, before Shamsher Singh made it 3-0 in the 28th minute with a field goal. Mandeep Singh and Akashdeep Singh completed the tally for India.

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Playing in the first match of the year, World No. 3 India took some time to settle down in the first 15-minute quarter. But once it got a measure of its opponent, it dominated in the next three quarters.

Nilakanta Sharma got a chance early in the match but he shot over. India got back-to-back penalty corners in the first quarter but France defence stood firm and defended well.

Goals galore

It was in the second quarter that India began to dominate. The team got its third penalty corner from which it took the lead. Drag-flicker Harmanpreet made no mistake from the PC, drilling a low shot at the right of France goalie. Three minutes later, India got another penalty corner, its fourth of the match, and this time Varun Kumar scored to make it 2-0, sending a low shot almost exactly as the first goal.

France got its first penalty corner in the 27th minute. Just after safely negotiating the penalty corner, the Indians made a swift counter-attack which resulted in their third goal. Shamsher Singh slammed home past a hapless France goalie from an assist from Abhishek.

India had 14 shots at opposition goal in the first half as against five of France and the Graham Reid’s side continued to dictate terms in the match after the half-time break. Mandeep Singh made it 4-0 two minutes into the third quarter with a fine field goal before Akashdeep Singh, who was playing in his 200th international match, made it 5-0 in the 41st minute with another field goal, finding the target with a reverse sweep.

France got back-to-back penalty corners in the 48th minute but could not score.

India faces host South Africa on Wednesday.

Final score
  • France 0 India 5 (Harmanpreet 21, Varun Kumar 24’, Shamsher 28’, Mandeep 32’, Akashdeep 41’)

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