Bhubaneswar : , India, the defending champions, began their campaign in FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World cup on a bad note.They lost 4-5 to France on the first day of the tournament at Kalinga Stadium.The hosts performed poorly as they took too long to settle down and did not show any coordination in the attack.This allowed France to take advantage of counterattacks.
India could have lost the match if it wasn’t for Prashant Chauhan, the goalkeeper who made at least five excellent saves.
Although the Indians did make several attacks and forward Uttam Sing looked dangerous when he entered the French half, on many occasions the Indian forwards were indecisive and were easily dispossessed.France defended well and their goalkeeper Guillaume de Vaucelles made at least seven great saves to deny them.
France’s skipper Timothy Clement scored a hat trick in the 1st to 23rd and 32nd minutes.Benjamin Marque and Corentin Solier each scored a goal as France secured a memorable win.His brilliant performance earned him the Player of the Match award.
Vice-captain Sanjay scored a hattrick for India.He converted penalty corners in 15th and 57th minutes, respectively, after Uttam Sing had opened the scoring in the 10th minute with an excellent goal.
If they want to reach the quarterfinals, the Indians must win the remaining matches.
France were clearly not intimidated despite being defending champions and hosts.They were 2-0 up in seven minutes.They are 25th in the rankings and were playing against a team ranked 5th in junior rankings.France launched an attack shortly after pushback.Skipper Timothee Clement capitalized on a good attack to score field goals.He scored a reverse hit off a rebound after Indian goalkeeper Prashant made a good save.
After Benjamin Marque’s field goal, France was 2-0 ahead.
The Indians attempted a few good attacks but were stopped by the French defense.
Graham Reid’s team did manage to get their bearings, and evened the scores in the first half.
Their second goal came just before the end of the quarter.
After a penalty corner was saved by Uttam Singh, Uttam scored a fantastic goal to make it 1-2 for India after a second rebound.
India made it 2-2 with vice-captain Sanjay taking advantage of a penalty corner and slamming one flick past the French goalkeeper.
However, all hopes of the Indians retaking the match after levelling it did not materialize.
France defended admirably and used the counterattacks effectively to not take the lead once again.They also managed to keep the Indian attackers away and not allow them to create penalty corners.
France’s third goal was scored by Clement in the 23rd (3-2), when he capitalized on a penalty corner.The Indians, particularly Manjeet and Uttam Singh, launched a variety of attacks, but failed to capitalize on any one.
Clemens scored again in the third quarter to make it 4-2 France.India was closing in on India with Corentin Sellier making it 5-2 with a counter-attack.
India scored two goals with penalty corner conversions by vice captain Sanjay, but it was too little too late as the hosts and defending champs lost 4-5.They started their campaign on a poor note.
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