Hockey: India clinch second successive win against France

Wattignies (France), Aug 5 (IANS) After clinching the opener 2-0 India men’s hockey team outclassed France 4-1 in the second match of the Europe Tour at the Wattignies Sports Centre here on Wednesday.

Gurjinder Singh scored twice, Amir and Rupinder Pal Singh found the target once each for India, while Baumgarten pulled one back for the hosts.

While it was the French who looked determined and displayed their best stick work throughout the first quarter, the Indian men were in no mood to give away the possession to the opponents and took away the ball from them displaying great speed and short passing skills.

By virtue of their even rotation across the field, India were awarded a penalty corner but it was efficiently saved by the French goalkeeper.

France constantly looked for opportunities to pierce the Indian defence, but the visitors went on the attack and Gurjinder Singh’s drag flick from a penalty corner in the 14th minute helped make the tally 1-0 as the first quarter came to an end.

France came back strongly in the second quarter with Baumgarten scoring a field goal in the 21st minute. Thereafter they were awarded a penalty corner but the shot was nicely saved by Kothajit Singh.

The Indians were quick to respond with attacks from both flanks, and reaped rich rewards as Amir hit a rebound from a penalty corner into the net.

India led 2-1 at halftime.

After the breather, India stepped on the gas once again keeping France under relentless pressure while at the other end Indian goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh stood as a wall for the defence whenever France tried to penetrate the goal-box.

The Indian men ensured good possession of the ball and after earning a couple of penalty corners, luck favoured the tourists, with Gurjinder successfully converting another penalty corner in the 44th minute. India now led 3-1.

Rupinder then hammered in an insurance goal in the 52nd minute.

After winning the series 2-0, India now travel to Spain and play their next match on August 10 at Sant Cugat del Valles.

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