India beat Germany 3-1, consolidate their position at top of the Pro Hockey League table
New Delhi, April 15, 2022
India outpaced Germany 3-1 to record their second straight win over the visitors and consolidated their position at the top of the leader board of FIH Pro Hockey League at Kalinga Stadium Bhubaneswar on Friday.
With this win, India now leads the standings with 27 points from 12 matches while Germany stayed put at second place with 17 points from 10 outings.
For the winners, who led 1-0 at half-time, the goal scorers were Sukhjeet Singh (19’) Varun Kumar (41’) and Abhishek (54’). For Germany, Anton Boeckel (45’)was the lone scorer.
This was India’s last match in the home leg of this FIH season. They will play the remaining matches in Europe in June.
India again dominated the proceedings like the previous match and had more ball possession in the first quarter as world No. 5 Germany desperately defending their citadel.
India, donning an all-white outfit, were kept up the pressure by launchings attacks from the flanks, forcing the visitors to crowd their defence.
In the 12th minute, Manpreet created a fine opening and set up Akashdeep Singh who had an open goal in front but he shot wide.
The scoreboard remained unchanged in the first 15 minutes.
Considering the sweltering heat in Bhubaneswar, the break between the quarters was extended to four minutes from the standard two.
India took the lead in the second quarter when Nilakanta Sharma sent a measured pass to the unmarked Sukhjeet Singh on the right, who slammed the ball into the back of the net (1-0).
The blistering heat had its impact and India slowed down the pace of the match after the goal and played the possession game.
However, Germany, after being under pressure for most of the time, tried to counter and made a flurry of attacks from either flank. However, none of them resulted in goals.
Early into the third quarter, the hosts won the first penalty corner of the match but Harmanpreet’s flick was saved after goalkeeper Jean Danneberg.
Indians kept mounting pressure throughout the quarter but just could not breach the rival defence to increase their lead.
The barrage of attacks finally paid off in the 41st minute as India converted a penalty corner. This time, Varun Kumar with powerful drag flick beat the goal keeper all ends up (2-0).
Germany narrowed the gap in the 45th minute through a well-constructed move. Hannes Muller beat goalkeeper PR Sreejesh on the left and Anton Boeckel made no mistake in sending the ball into the cave (1-2).
India were down to 10 men early in the fourth quarter when Gurinder Singh was shown a yellow card for a foul.
Despite the disadvantage, India sealed the match in the 54th minute when Abhishek’s powerful reverse hit went flying past the goalkeeper.
With three minutes to go, Germany missed the penalty corner and eventually suffered their second defeat in two days.