India men’s hockey team started the new season with an emphatic victory over France to start their campaign in FIH Pro League 2021-22. The Tokyo Olympics Bronze medal winners gave no chance to their opponents during the course of the match and came out victorious.
France who are ranked 13th in the world are making their debut at the league are a last minute replacement for Canada who decided to opt out due to travel restrictions for COVID-19. They found it difficult to breach Indian defense and couldn’t even take advantage of the penalty corners.
India finished last season at 4th position is looking to better that in this campaign. World Number One Australian team have decided to give this tournament a skip hence opening the doors for teams like Belgium, Netherlands and India to compete for the trophy. This tournament which is now in the third season has been won by Australia and Belgium earlier.
Indian team playing the first match of the season started with caution and grew in confidence as the match progressed.
No goals were scored in the first quarter but India’s came back strongly in the next two quarters slamming three in second and two in third quarter to make the score 5-0.
India utilized two of the four penalty corners that they earned while France wasted all three of them failing to score from any against a formidable Sreejesh. Harmanpreet Singh and Varun Kumar scored from the penalty corners while Shamsher Singh, Mandeep Singh and Akashdeep Singh took the field goal route to give India a commanding victory.
Although the possession during the match was equally divided it was clearly India who were the more dominant team with twenty two shots at goal against nine from the opponents. Akashdeep Singh who scored the fifth goal of the match was awarded the player of the match in his 200th match.
Player of the Match: Akashdeep Singh (IND)
Indian team will face the South Africa team today.
The matches in India are being telecasted widely on the Star Sports Network and Hotstar.