Bhubaneswar: The Indian men’s hockey team defeated an inexperienced Germany 3-1 in the second match of the double-leg tie to consolidate their lead at the top of the FIH Pro League standings here Friday. In the game played at the Kalinga Stadium here the hosts scored through scored through Sukhjeet Singh (19th), Varun Kumar (41st) and Abhishek (54th). Germany’s lone goal was scored by Anton Boeckel (45th). The Indians had defeated Germany 3-0 in the first match of the two-leg tie Thursday.
The Indians are now sitting pretty at the top with 27 points from 12 games. Germany are placed second with 17 points from 10 matches.
Germany had half dozen players making their international debut in these two games. It helped the experienced Indian team dominate the show.
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. He 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 Indian defence a bit under pressure in the final few minutes of the second quarter. They also managed a shot but Krishan Bahadur Pathak was alert under the Indian post.
India enjoyed the lion’s 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 perfectly placed the ball low into the bottom left corner to double the home team’s lead.
Germany, however, pulled one goal 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. They secured a penalty corner but Pathak palmed away the ball to deny the visitors any inroads. The two wins marks the end of India’s home campaign in the FIH Pro League.