The Indian Men’s Hockey team started their FIH Hockey Pro League campaign in a very topsy turvy way as they defeated New Zealand in a thriller by winning 4-3 whereas they were defeated by Spain 3-2 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. India had a great start to the campaign as Mandeep Singh scored a brace and Mandeep Mor and Harmanpreet added a goal to their tally to beat the Kiwis.
However they lost out against Spain due to some lapse in concentration in defense. Harmanpreet Singh and Abhishek scored a goal each but it resulted in a losing cause as Spain ran riot by breaching the Indian defense thrice.
After the two matches, captain Harmanpreet Singh shared how they will look to improve on finishing their chances. The Indian team is creating many chances but they have not been at their prolific best in terms of scoring goals.
“We were creating a lot of chances. We received a lot of penalty corners. We were trying for different variations and combinations. But sometimes, they do not work out. We have two more matches to go next week, so hopefully we will try to convert more chances,” Harmanpreet honestly pointed out.
The men in blue will have two more matches as they will take on New Zealand on 4th November and also a rematch against Spain on 6th November. Harmanpreet highlights how the Indian team is pressing aggressively and are intercepting balls in the middle and are creating openings but they just need to be more clinical with their finishing and then results will go their way.
“We try to play with full pressure. So, we can create attacking chances. We were able to intercept a lot of passes and enter into the circle. But we can improve upon our finishing,” skipper added.
This is India’s preparation ahead of the World Cup which is scheduled early next year and the matches will be played at the Kalinga Stadium and also in Rourkela. So Harmanpreet is very thankful for the fans who came out to support them in the Pro League games and believes that the fans help them improve with every game.
“It was great to play once again at the Kalinga Stadium. This is our second home and we always receive massive support from the crowd here. So, it brings us a lot of positive vibes that we can do better and push ourselves,” the Indian defender concluded.
India needs to work on their defence and also on the attacking front. While the defense is conceding silly goals to the opponents, the attackers are missing out on golden opportunities. This is something which is very concerning for coach Graham Reid as the World Cup is very near and the team still needs a few tweaks to be a proper contender for the title.