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FIH Junior World Cup: Day 1 nightmare as Sanjay’s 3 in vain, France stun India 5-4


Bhubaneswar, November 24

Vice-captain Sanjay scored a hat-trick but it was not enough as underdogs France stunned defending champions India 5-4 in their opening Pool B match of the FIH Junior Hockey World Cup here tonight.

France skipper Timothee Clement also scored a hat-trick, with goals in the first, 23rd and 32nd minutes, while Benjamin Marque (7th) and Corentin Sellier (48th) were the other scorers for world No. 26 France.

Sanjay converted three penalty-corners in the 15th, 57th and 58th minutes while Uttam Singh (10th) had scored the first goal for the hosts in a losing cause.

France stunned India in the very first minute of the match when lazy defence on part of the hosts gave Clement the opportunity to put his team up.

The brave Frenchmen punched above their weight and continued to attack the Indian citadel, which resulted in the second goal through a field strike from Marque.

Down 0-2, a stunned India responded within three minutes and pulled a goal back with a field strike from Uttam.

Pumped up, the defending champions kept up the pressure with a flurry of attacks but the French defence stood strong to thwart them.

India equalised late in the first quarter through a penalty-corner conversion by Sanjay.

Minutes into the second quarter, India earned their third penalty-corner but Uttam Singh was way off target with his attempt.

France took the lead once again in the 23rd minute when skipper Clement scored from a penalty-corner. Pumped up, the Frenchmen continued to attack and earned a couple of penalty-corners but the Indians defended well.

Two minutes from half time, India secured their fourth penalty-corner but the French goalkeeper produced a terrific save to deny the hosts, who went into the breather trailing 2-3.

Two minutes into the third quarter, France extended their lead when they got three successive penalty-corners, the last of which was converted by skipper Clement for a 4-2 lead.

In the 38th minute, India secured another penalty-corner but wasted the opportunity.

France made it 5-2 in their favour in the 48th minute when Sellier scored with a field effort.

Trailing by three goals, the Indians tried hard to turn the game around and attacked the France citadel in big numbers.

Sanjay scored twice through penalty-corners in the 57th and 58th minutes in a thrilling chase even as the clock ticked against India. With time running out, India failed to stop the Frenchmen from registering the first upset of the tournament. — PTI


France bt India 5-4

Belgium bt South Africa 5-1

Germany bt Pakistan 5-2

Poland bt Canada 1-0

Malaysia bt Chile 2-1

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