In the opening match of the FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final 2015, the India Men Hockey team came from 0-1 down to beat France by 3-2 with a late winner with just a couple of minutes before final hooter.
In the other match of the day and Pool A, Pakistan overcame Poland by 2-1. Irfan Muhammad scored early in the game to earn lead for the Green Shirts in 3rd minute. Bratkowski Pawel scored in 51st minute to equalize, but Waqas Muhammad scored in another 3 minutes to take full 3 points from the match.
The India and France, game started with the European taking the early lead but India came back strong as they scored two quick goals to take the lead. France not letting the game slip from their hand scored the equaliser in the 3rd quarter. India sealed the game in the 59th minute as great stick work by Captain Sadar Singh helped India score the vital winning goal.
While it was the India Men Hockey team who made the initial attack, it was France who managed to score the early goal in the 3rd minute as Olivier Sanchez scored a brilliant field goal and giving his team the much required lead. Undeterred by the goal, India continued their attack and the next minute India had a chance on the goal as Lalit Upadhyay passed the ball to Satbir Singh in the D and who hit the ball hard at goal post but was saved by the opponent goalie. Seconds left in the first quarter Satbir yet again entered the semi circle with the ball but was blocked by the France goalie, denying the opportunity to score. This resulted in the quarter ending at 1-0 in favour of France.
Looking at the equalizer goal, in the 18th minute India continuing their attack, saw Satbir Singh charging from the right flank as he passed the ball to Ramandeep Singh standing right in front of the goal post but the latter missed the target as the ball was hit wide of the goal. India had their chance on the penalty corner in the 27th minute and Manpreet Singh did no mistake in finding the nets and giving India the much required equalizer goal. The goal even marked Manpreet Singh’s first ever drag flick goal. India totally charged up post the first goal saw Dharamvir Singh in the 27th minute passing the ball to Devindar Walmiki at the D and he on his part hit a brilliant field goal in his debut match and taking the score to 2-1.
The third session saw France upping the ante as they looked to equalize the game. They got their first penalty corner in the 35th minute but was hit wide if the goal as they were yet again not successful in drawing the parity. Within two minute France yet again attacked but Sreejesh was ready to deny the much required goal by the opponents as he saved brilliantly. France finally managed to equalize as in the 43rd minute Simon Martin Brisac scored though a field goal and taking the score to 2-2. Seconds left for the quarter to end, India was in the D of the opponents looking at taking the lead again but failed to capitalize resulting in the third session closing with the game levelled at 2-2.
With the fourth quarter being the decider session, both the teams knew they had no scope to make mistakes and the only way to win will be to score and take the quick lead. India had a chance on penalty corner with just 5 minutes left into the game, Jasjit taking the flick was off target, resulting in India losing the opportunity. The goal finally came in the 59th minute as Sardar Singh beating two opponent players entered the D as he passed to Akashdeep Singh and who on his part quickly passed it on to Ramandeep Singh, and he made no mistake in finding the nets, taking the score to 3-2. This resulted in the winning goal for India as they beat France by 3-2.
India will face Poland in their second match of the FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final 2015 at 19:30 IST on the 23rd June 2015. The matches will be telecasted LIVE on Star Sports.