FIH Pro League: India beat Germany 3-1 to end home leg on confident note

BHUBANESWAR: The Indian men’s hockey team defeated an inexperienced Germany 3-1 in the second match of the double-leg tie to consolidate its lead at the top of the FIH Pro League standings on Friday.

The Indians scored through Sukhjeet Singh (19th minute), Varun Kumar (41st) and Abhishek (54th), while Germany’s lone goal was scored by Anton Boeckel (45th).

The Indians had defeated Germany 3-0 in the first match of the tie on Thursday.

India are now sitting pretty at the top with 27 points from 12 games, while Germany are placed second with 17 points from 10 matches.

Against a new-look Germany, whose half a dozen players of the 22-member squad made their debut in these two games, the Indians continued their domination.

The Indians made some fine runs into the opposition circle in the first quarter but failed to convert any of the chances.

Four minutes into the second quarter, Sukhjeet handed India the lead with a clever field goal.

Sukhjeet found himself at the right position inside the circle to score only his second international goal after being beautifully set up by Manpreet Singh and Nilkanta Sharma.

The goal ignited sparks into India’s game as they started to move around the turf freely and their passing too looked impressive.

The Germans put the opposition defence a bit under pressure in the final few minutes of the second quarter and managed a shot but Krishan Bahadur Pathak was alert under the Indian post.

India enjoyed the lions share of possession in the first half with three shots on goal against none.

Three minutes after the change of ends, India finally secured their first penalty corner but Germany goalkeeper Jean Danneberg made a great reflex save to deny Harmanpreet Singh.

In the 41st minute, Shilanand Lakra earned another penalty corner for India and this time Varun Kumar perfectly placed the ball low into the bottom left corner to double the home team’s lead.

Germany, however, pulled one back four minutes later through Anton Boeckel, who pushed into an empty goal after India custodian PR Sreejesh committed early.

Abhishek made it 3-1 in the 54th minute with a vicious shot from the left side of the circle after receiving a long pass from Harmanpreet.

The Germans gave their heart and soul in the final few minutes of the game and in the process secured a penalty corner but Pathak palmed away the ball to deny the visitors any inroads.

The two wins marked the end of India’s home campaign in the FIH Pro League.


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