11.30 pm: That will be all from this live blog, join us over the weekend for India’s second fixtures against France and South Africa.
Player of the match: Jugraj Singh for his hat-trick. Manpreet Singh is all praise for the newcomer.
Full time stats: India were fantastic in Q1, Q2, and Q4... and it shows in the numbers. India will return for matches against France and South Africa at the weekend.
Full time: IND 10-2 RSA South Africa competed very well in the 2nd half, India lost a bit of focus in Q3 but finish strongly. The first half was too good from Manpreet Singh’s men. By Graham Reid’s second half is a fresh start approach, it was a hard-fought 2-2 draw in that phase. Credit to SA for that but India’s quality shone through in Q4 again.
Q4: IND 10-2 RSA: Five seconds to go, India have a PC! A chance to match Netherlands’ tally from yesterday.
Q4: IND 10-2 RSA: Dayaan CASSIEM wth a great dribble across the field, but he runs out field at the end. A referral wasted for good measure.
Q4: IND 10-2 RSA: Akashdeep earns a PC (soft one conceded by the SA defence really). Can RSA avoid another 11 goal match here? The rush is good, and it is deflected over. Last minute of the match.
Q4: IND 10-2 RSA: A PC for SA, India lose their referral too. Pathak with a good save though.
Q4: IND 10-2 RSA: GOAL, INDIA! Brilliant from Dilpreet Singh. Does it all by himself, receiving the ball in the right flank, dribbling into the area and unleashing a shot from distance. Great solo goal.
Q4, IND 9-2 RSA: India looking to control possession now. And attack patiently.
For the record, Manpreet Singh had a green card in Q3.
Q4, IND 9-2 RSA: Reid said at Half Time yesterday that he wanted his team to usually see it as a 0-0 while restarting. By that account India are trailing 1-2 in this mini match. Better from the men in blue though in the final quarter. Less than 6 to go.
Q4, IND 9-2 RSA: Pressure early on in Q4, India have a PC after a good referral. Harmanpreet’s drag flick is saved. Krishan Pathak is back in India’s goal by the way.
Q4 begins: South Africa’s best quarter by some distance and they have two goals to show for it, could have been more but for Sreejesh, who wasn’t pleased with the defence. Reid says “get control back, stop paying casually.”
End of Q3, IND 9-2 RSA: GOAL, SOUTH AFRICA! Richard PAUTZ this time. Sreejesh is not a happy man! He saves one at his chest height, then SA come again, he goes low to save... but the rebound from that is slotted in. Reid can be heard telling his team at break that he wanted his team to focus again. He didn’t sound happy there either.
Q3, IND 9-1 RSA: GOAL, SOUTH AFRICA! Daniel Bell from a PC. Sreejesh concedes a goal after making some solid saves. This one is hit powerfully to his left. Good drag flick, something to cheer for SA.
Q3, India 9-0 SA: Good referral that by Harmanpreet, deemed a dangerous ball when it came into the circle. No PC for SA.
Q3, India 9-0 SA: Good possession to for South Africa. A PC, some good control with recycling the ball... and now another PC given to the hosts. Harmanpreet refers this one.
Spare a thought for the FIH live-tweeter as well.
Q3, India 9-0 SA: GOAL, INDIA! Gursahibjit Singh with his 2nd of the night. Vivek Prasad releases Nilkanta down the right flank, who founds Singh in the middle after solid stickwork. Good team goal.
Q3, India 8-0 South Africa: Oh good work from Nicholas Spooner, great dribbling skills to win a PC all by himself. PC for SA and Sreejesh in goal.... saves! Results in another PC.
Q3, India 8-0 South Africa: Indian defence fails to clear their lines and it presents a half decent chance to SA there... no final product there. Better from the hosts though.
Q3, India 8-0 South Africa: A couple of PCs for India to start Q3, Amit Rohidas takes a crack this time. Saved. Mandeep then with a big chance to dink over the ‘keeper but goes over the bar. India showing no signs of taking it easy.
First-half stats: Ruthlessly efficient performance by India. What’s in store for the 2nd half?
HALF TIME: South Africa conceded 6 goals of the 11 against Netherlands in the final quarter yesterday. It was 1-4 at HT and 1-5 at end of Q3. It was only in Q4, NED pumped in 6. Today, they have conceded 8 in the first half. Ruthless from India, really. If they rest at half-time as Reid wants them to, this could still get bad for RSA. India would have an eye on GD too.
HALF TIME: IND 8-0 RSA And breathe! What a breathtaking half of hockey from India, that. They were expected to dominate this match but that was something else. Jugraj Singh’s hat-trick the highlight.
Q2, India 8-0 South Africa: Well something goes SA’s way. A PC is given to India but a referral overturns the decision.
Q2, India 8-0 South Africa: GOAL INDIA! This is fantastic play from India, with Harmanpreet Singh starting a move from deep in the right flank, a wonderful aerial ball across the turf and into the circle. Mandeep does well to recover after an initial miscontrol and then plays a lovely give-and-go before finishing from a tight angle. Brilliant from Mandeep.
Q2, India 7-0 South Africa: GOAL, INDIA! This is ruthless from India. Now Dilpreet Singh turns scorer after setting up a brilliant goal. Nilakanta Sharma does the setting up this time.
Q2, India 6-0 South Africa GOAL, INDIA! Dilpreet Singh with great 3D skills down the left byline, sets up Gursahibjit Singh in the middle and he converts the field goal. Rampant India!
Green card for Matt De Sousa
Q2, India 5-0 South Africa: Hat-trick for JUGRAJ SINGH! What a day for him. This one is across the goalkeeper and high into the roof of the net. Brilliant set-piece conversion from the men in blue.
Q2, India 4-0 South Africa: CHANCE! HORNE Keenan (C) goes close. Krishan Pathak in goal now, he comes out quickly to force a quick shot. The ball goes wide. Good play by the hosts though.
Q2, India 4-0 South Africa: “India seem to have around 15 players on the turf at the moment,” jokes one of the commentators. Good control in possession.
Q2, India 4-0 South Africa: The South African coach had said before the tournament as well that he was missing some names due to other commitments, the commentators mention around 440 caps of experience is missing from this SA lineup due to retirements/other reasons. Not easy They need to find a way to compete here, try and absorb some pressure for starters
Q2 begins.. Can SA be a bit more stable on defence on avoid errors?
End of Q1: Jugraj Singh and Abhishek, the two newcomers to this set-up, are both on the scoresheet. And that’s about as perfect a quarter of hockey as India could have hoped for. South AFrica in deep trouble.
Q1, India 4-0 South Africa: GOAL, INDIA! Another newcomer finds the net for India... Abhishek this time. A mistake in defence by South Africa and the forward pounces on the chance to rifle one across the goal. Abhishek has earned the call-up on the back of prolific scoring in national set-up and he shows why.
Q1, India 3-0 South Africa: Lovely stickwork down the left sees South Africa fashion half a chance, but it is calmly dealt with by India. India counter now and looks like it was Shamsher who took a shot across goal. Not in.
Q1, India 3-0 South Africa: A PC that South Africa manage to defend finally, despite losing one man for the count. Varun with the attempt that time.
Q1, India 3-0 South Africa: GOAL, INDIA! JUGRAJ SINGH AGAIN! What a way to announce yourself onto the international circuit. This one is driven low to the right of the GK... the PCs are hurting SA big time.
Q1, India 2-0 South Africa: GOAL, INDIA! JUGRAJ SINGH! (Remember the name? ). A goal to remember for the highly-rated drag-flicker, in his 2nd match he opens his account. Into the top of the net! Some hit that.
Q1, India 1-0 South Africa: GOAL, INDIA! What a start. In the 2nd minute, Harmanpreet Singh (Who else) gives India the lead. A drag flick low to the left of the GK, after scoring to the right yesterday
Q1, India 0-0 South Africa: A PC early for India, Mandeep does well. Harmanpreet at it straight away and he earns another PC.
It is a huge task for South Africa to recover from a result like 1-11 but the good thing perhaps is the 1-day turnaround. A chance to bounce back. They were one of the surprise packages in Tokyo, with some superb performances (a win over GER, a crazy match against Belgium etc).
Graham Reid (not verbatim): South African sport and defeat is a dangerous mix, we know they can react. We have to be on our game, it needs to be a professional performance.
Some pre-match reading...
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 matches. After a 5-0 win against France, today they take on hosts South Africa.
On Thuesday, both the Netherlands and India men’s teams gave masterclasses in their particular styles of hockey in the first of a series of FIH Hockey Pro League matches taking place in Potchefstroom, South Africa. India tormented France with their free running and swift changes in the direction of attack, while the Dutch were the epitome of elegant, clinical and relentless hockey as they contained and then overwhelmed the ambitions of South Africa.
The national men’s team of India men hit the ground running in their first match of Season Three in the FIH Hockey Pro League. A cagey first quarter was followed by 45 minutes of creative, controlled and entertaining hockey that left France with few opportunities to open their own scoring account in their first FIH Pro League outing.
Head Coach Frederic Soyez explained ahead of the match that his team had only had limited time to prepare for their entry into the competition but his players were very aware that this is an invaluable learning opportunity ahead of a World Cup and a home Olympic Games (Paris 2024)
Certainly, the India side put on a masterclass in attacking hockey during this encounter. The damage was done in the second quarter. Harmanpreet Singh opened the scoring in the 21st minute with a beautifully taken penalty corner that evaded the outstretched foot of Arthur Thieffry in the France goal.
Thieffry had made some important saves prior to this moment and would go on to keep the ball out of the net on several more occasions.
Minutes later Varun Kumar also rattled the back of the goal with a fierce penalty corner strike. The scorer of the third goal, Shamsher Singh, was the beneficiary of a fabulous counter attack. The French team had pushed high and won a penalty corner, which the India defence cleared swiftly. Three passes later Kumar was able to pick his spot in the goal and give his team an unassailable lead.
Mandeep Singh scored the fourth in the 32nd minute and then Akashdeep Singh – who celebrated 200 caps for his country in this match – sealed the emphatic win with a well-taken goal following another speedy and clinical build-up by his team. Akashdeep’s performance earned him the Player of the Match award.
Speaking after the game, India captain Manpreet Singh said: ‘We are really happy because France are a good team and we knew we couldn’t give them any opportunities. In the first quarter we were a bit sloppy but after that we played a good game and scored goals. With that, we grew in confidence.’
The match was also noteworthy as it was the first FIH international men’s match that was umpired by two female umpires. Wanri Venter – who was also part of the first FIH Pro League match to have mixed gender umpires – took to the field with Annelize Rostron to take charge of the game.
In the second match, the Netherlands took advantage of a nervous start by South Africa to take the lead in the seventh minute when Tim Swaen slotted a penalty stroke past Siyavuya Nolutshungu.
South Africa rallied and the lightening speed of Dayaan Cassiem, Jethro Eustice and Nqobile Ntuli created all sorts of problems for the Dutch. The energy of the forward line paid off when Ntuli scored to bring the scores level.
If the first quarter was shared, then the second quarter was all about the Netherlands. Three goals - from captain Thierry Brinkman, Derck de Vilder and Player of the Match Thijs van Dam – put the game beyond South Africa’s reach.
A quieter third quarter saw just one goal – albeit in the 15th second after the restart – scored by Jorrit Croon. But a blistering and relentless final quarter saw six goals, including a beautifully shot hit on the run by Tijmen Reyenga, plus goals for Swaen, Brinkman, Koen Bijen and two for Jip Janssen.
Player of the Match Thijs van Dam (NED) said: ‘Today we played a really great match. We have been here 10 days already and we have trained hard and finally we can play some matches.’
Today’s results puts Netherlands at the top of the table, one point ahead of Belgium. India, with one win from one match sit in fourth place.
On Wednesday 9 February the FIH Hockey Pro League action continues with two further men’s matches. South Africa will face India and France will meet fellow European team the Netherlands.
FIH Hockey Pro League
Result: Tuesday 8 February 2022 - Potchefstroom (RSA)
Men’s FIH Hockey Pro League
France 0-5 India
Player of the Match: Akashdeep Singh (IND))
Umpires: Annelize Rostron (RSA), Wanri Venter (RSA) Sean Rapaport (RSA - video umpire)
South Africa 1-11 Netherlands
Player of the Match: Thijs van Dam (NED)
(Report by FIH)
Screenshots courtesy: Disney+Hotstar / FIH