Indian men’s hockey team defeated France 5-4 in a thriller in the fourth and final clash of the Five-nation tournament in Valencia 2023 on Saturday. The Men in Blue finished the tournament on a high as this was their only win at the event.
India lost 1-0 against hosts Spain before suffering a 7-2 drubbing against Olympic champions Belgium in the second outing. The third match saw Harmanpreet Singh and company lose to Germany by a scoreline of 3-2.
Against France, it was a very feisty game with both teams fighting hard to hold the lead. For India, Jugraj Singh and captain Harmanpreet Singh hammered two braces while Vivek Sagar Prasad added another goal to defeat France in an absolute thriller.
It was France, who opened the scoring in the first quarter when Lucas Montecot converted a penalty corner in the 11th minute.
India quickly equalized early in the second quarter as Vivek Sagar Prasad scored a brilliant field goal. It was then Jugraj Singh’s hard work that helped India earn the lead for India. He converted the penalty corner brilliantly.
Soon after Jugraj’s goal, Harmanpreet Singh also converted another penalty to double the lead for Men in Blue.
France came up with a retaliation when they were awarded a penalty stroke and Etienne Tynevez made full use of the opportunity to pull one back. At half-time, India had a 3-2 lead. However, France came back into the game with a field goal from Gaspard Baumgarten late in the third quarter. With 3-3 on the scoreboard, both teams fought hard to take the lead.
Etienne Tynevez handed France the lead through a penalty corner but they failed to hold on to their lead for long as Harmanpreet Singh scored his second goal of the game from a perfectly executed penalty corner.
Things were titled in India’s favour completely when Jugraj Singh followed his captain’s footsteps and also completed his brace with yet another penalty corner making the 5-4 against France. Although it was a very underwhelming tournament for India, they ended it on a high with a fine win.