FIH Pro League: India beat Germany 3-1

Bhubaneswar, April 15 : India ended its FIH Pro League home stint with a 3-1 win over Germany here at the Kalinga Stadium on Friday. The win gave India a 10-point lead at the top of the table with 8 wins in 12 games. Germany are placed second with 17 points after five wins in 10 matches. Sukhjeet Singh (19′), Varun Kumar (41′) and Abhishek (54′) scored for India. Anton Boeckel (45′) netted Germany’s solitary goal. India managed to create early chances, primarily through some skillful work by Manpreet Singh, who twice he worked his way into the German circle and his pass only needed a touch to open the scoring for India. But Akashdeep and Sukhjeet both couldn’t get their sticks to the crosses and the teams went into the quarter break tied at 0-0. India came out stronger in the 2nd quarter as they threatened to open the scoring through Rabichandra Moirangthem, who found space on the right side of the circle after some good switch play by India caught Germany out, but his shot/cross cleared by German defence before it could threaten the keeper. India finally made the pressure pay though, as Nilakanta Sharma sent a fast pass towards the goal and Sukhjit smartly got ahead of Jean Danneberg to deflect the ball in. Germany started to get on the front foot towards the end of the first half, but they could only muster one shot on target, that did not trouble Krishan Pathak too much, and he saved to maintain India’s lead heading into the second half. 10 minutes into the 3rd quarter, Lalit baited the German defence into fouling him, winning India their first penalty corner of the game. It was Varun Kumar, who took on the corner instead of Harmanpreet Singh, he blasted a low flick to the left bottom corner of the goal, giving India a 2-goal cushion. India retreated a bit in the 4th quarter allowing Germany to mount a number of raids. The strategy worked wonders for them as it opened up space behind the tight German mid-field and the dangerous Indian counter attacks started catching the German defenders out. India finally managed to convert one of their counter attacks into a goal as a long pass by Harmanpreet found Abhishek at the top of the German circle, and his quick reverse hit was strong and perfectly placed into the corner of the German goal, leaving the keeper Danneberg with no chance of stopping it. India finished off the last 5 minutes of the game with minimum fuss, except for one penalty corner that was won by the tireless German captain Martin Zwicker. Pathak pulled off a stunning save on the resulting flick to keep India’s two goal lead intact and allowed them to play the final 2 minutes out with relative ease. BAV RKM

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