|India||21||13||Singh Harmanpreet||Penalty Corner||0 - 1|
|India||24||22||Kumar Varun||Penalty Corner||0 - 2|
|India||28||21||Singh Shamsher||Field Goal||0 - 3|
|India||32||11||Singh Mandeep||Field Goal||0 - 4|
|India||41||27||Singh Akashdeep||Field Goal||0 - 5|
11.15 pm: That will be all for this blog, join us tomorrow for the India men’s team’s second match of this tour as they take on hosts South Africa.
Player of the match: Akashdeep Singh, on his 200th appearance.
FULL TIME: India 5-0 France A tough debut for the French men in the Pro League as India produce a professional, collective display. Five different goalscorers for the Tokyo 2020 bronze medallists.
Q4, India 5-0 France: India finishing strongly... final minute.
Q4, India 5-0 France: How has he missed from there! Shailand Lakra did brilliantly well down the byline with his 3D skills and then a chance comes to Manpreet at the edge of the circle. His shot is past the goalkeeper and Shailanand Lakra somehow deflects it wide from this distance. (Came at him really at some pace though mind you, might have been blinded as well)
Q4, India 5-0 France: We were right before, there are referrals available. India using theirs now, a PC is given. And it is, not for the first time, a good referral by India. Manpreet has great record with referrals.
Q4, India 5-0 France: Better from France now but that is also down to the scoreboard, you must say. They want another PC. Not given. (Starting to think there are no referrals)
Q4, India 5-0 France: Now a green card for India, Varun.
Q4, India 5-0 France: Pathak saves... another PC... another save by Pathak! This one is brilliant. (Not clear at this stage if there are reviews in this match, there weren’t in the women’s matches recently but they announced that. Nothing so far here but surprisingly no referrals from either side, makes you wonder)
Q4, India 5-0 France: A green card for France but Clement does well to win a PC for his side. Can he score too? Pathak in goal now.
FIH: As Annelize Rostron and Wanri Venter umpire this match, it is yet another first as this is the first time two female umpires have officiated a men’s international.
Q3, India 5-0 France: Meanwhile, India, like they do usually, are alternating the goalkeepers. Was Sreejesh in Q1, then Pathak in Q2. now Sreejesh back. He is nearly called into action there as France seek a desperate goal.
Q3, India 5-0 France: GOAL, INDIA! Akashdeep marks his 200th appearance with a well taken goal. Mistake from the French captain inside the circle, the Indian forward pounces and converts brilliantly! Didn’t take it first time, waited a microsecond more with a second attempt, then puts it past the goalkeeper.
Q3, India 4-0 France: Manpreet with another great pass from right and Akashdeep nearly scores on his 200th appearance. France just about deflect it away.
Q3, India 4-0 France: India pressed high briefly after that goal but now it is a bit cagey out there. India of course can afford to be a bit more patient now. Chances will come.... and as we say that a good counter with Akashdeep finding himself in space but can’t get a shot away.
Q3, India 4-0 France: GOAL, INDIA! Oh that is brilliant combination play. Manpreet Singh from the right flank with a lovely cut back, Mandeep gathers the ball, moves a step away from to make space and then rifles it home. 4-0. Simple is what Reid wanted, simple-and-effective is what he saw there.
Graham Reid: Good first half. Had some chances in the first five, didn’t convert. But good overall. No bollywood, as we say. No fancy stuff. It’s 0-0 at the start of this half.
HALF TIME: Effectively three goals from three PCs for India... the first two their own, the third from France’s PC. 02.58 on the clock when France took the drag flick, 02:43 on the clock when Shamsher scored. That was breathtaking... from Nilakanta to Abhishek to Shamsher, goal.
Q2: India 3-0 France GOAL, INDIA! Another PC, another goal. But this time on the counter attack. France win a PC but India save it and go on a blazing move down the other and Shamsher finishes it off. Nilkanata with a pass downfield, Shamsher is found eventually, and he finishes it calmly.
Q2: India 2-0 France: Manpreet concedes a PC, he looked guilt even before the whistle went. But India defend well and counter...
Q2: India 2-0 France GOAL, INDIA! Another PC, another goal. This time Varun Kumar but almost near identical to the one Harmanpreet scored not too long ago.
Q2, India 1-0 France: The attacking move in the build-up to that PC was fantastic from India. And now another PC for India.
Q2, India 1-0 France: GOAL, INDIA! Harmanpreet Singh’s first drag flick of the day and it is a great one. Powerfully struck, and India have the lead. Well deserved too
Q2, India 0-0 France: Great ball from deep from Akashdeep, Mandeep does well to find Nilakanta and then comes a PC... maybe time for Harmanpreet now.
Q2, India 0-0 France: Nearly a goal on debut for Abhishek! Shamsher wins the ball in France’s half and feeds the forward, the shot across goal is straight at the keeper though. Hardik with some nice dribbling at the left byline but his final ball is a bit too easy to take care of. India have started Q2 well.
End of Q1: India 0-0 France India had the best chances in that quarter, both from open play and set pieces, but France threatened on a couple of occasions too. Goalless still.
Q1, India 0-0 France: A good attacking move from defence to attack by India but moments before that Jarmanpreet had to be really alert to a dummy.
Q1, India 0-0 France: Jugraj Singh has been praised for his speed of the drag flicks by both coach Reid and captain Manpreet. Two good ones there from back-to-back PCs, but the France GK is alert. Will go down as good shots on goal.
Q1, India 0-0 France: Great pressure from India early on. First they win the ball back high up and debutant Abhishek finds himself in a great position, France defend. Then the Indians come again, a few chances to test the goalkeeper but no PCs earned there either. STarted with a great long ball.
Q1, India 0-0 France: Oh what a ball from Harmanpreet from the middle of the park! Nilakanta is found in good space, the shot at goal is over the post. Great pass! Should have hit the target there.
FIH message: Congratulations to Akashdeep Singh as he plays his 200th match for India
National anthems done! Tokyo 2020 bronze medallists take on hosts of Paris 2024. It’s the beginning of an important cycle for both teams.
Some pre-match reading...
Here’s a look at the starting XI: Sreejesh is back after a break. A strong squad as coach Graham Reid had anyway stressed before the team’s departure.
9.15 pm: Hello everyone and welcome to our live coverage of Indian hockey as Manpreet Singh and Co get 2022 season underway with FIH Pro League.
After a memorable 2021 for Indian hockey, the men’s team gear up to take on hosts South Africa and France in the opening matches of their FIH Hockey Pro League 2021-’22 campaign, starting from tonight in Potchefstroom. The last time both the teams faced each other was during the 2015 Fintro Hockey World League Semi-Final Antwerp, with India winning the match 3-2. But there will be some recent history in play here... France stunned India not once but twice at the recent Junior World Cup.
Screenshots courtesy: Disney+Hotstar / FIH