Le Touquet (France): Talented Chinglensana Singh and seasoned SV Sunil struck a goal apiece as Indian men's hockey team started their tour of Europe on a bright note with a 2-0 win over hosts France.
The Sardar Singh-led team dominated the proceedings throughout in their opening game which was held yesterday. The Indians drew first blood in the 18th minute (3rd minute of second quarter) when the opportunistic Chinglensana capitalised on the defensive lapse to enter the D and the powerfully struck hit found the back of the net.
The favourites increased the pressure on the French side with repeated raids in the opposition attacking third, which resulted in the second goal by SV Sunil.
Sardar, SK Uthappa, Danish Mujtaba and Devinder Walmiki were instrumental in India enjoying the better of exchanges and ball possession. Sunil, Ramandeep Singh and Akashdeep Singh kept French defence on tenterhooks throughout the second quarter.
The highly skillful Sunil scored a brilliant field goal as he did the spadework dribbling past a host of French defenders before slotting the ball home in the 26th minute (11th minute of second quarter).
Indian team held onto their lead till the end of the game. France upped the ante in the third quarter but the India defence foiled their goal-scoring bid.
In the last few minutes of the third quarter, France earned a penalty corner, which was successfully thwarted by India goal-keeper PR Sreejesh.
The fourth quarter was a closely-fought battle as both the teams pushed each others to score more goals. French players played with more aggression and they managed to earn back-to-back penalty corners. But both were brilliantly saved by Sreejesh before Indians went on the counter but could not increase the tally.
India will play their second and last match against France on Wednesday at the Wattigies Sports Centre.