The Indian men’s hockey team posted a 3-2 victory against world champions Germany in the FIH Hockey Pro League. Captain Harmanpreet Singh opened the scoring with a fierce drag-flick, before Sukhjeet Singh scored twice for India, while Paul-Philipp Kaufmann and Michel Struthoff netted for Germany.
The hosts resumed their home games in style with a clinical performance against the Germans even though it was the world champions who got off to a strong start by creating back-to-back PCs in the first two quarters. However, India kept their nerves in the PC defense to make a clean slate.
Striker Abhishek’s efforts in the circle in the latter part of the second quarter finally brought the momentum that India was vying for. Until then, attempts by strikers Gurjant Singh and Dilpreet Singh in the opening minutes of the match were canceled out by German goalkeeper Alexander Stadler.
Abhishek’s quick thinking on his tackle to get ahead inside the attacking circle forced a German foul which earned the home team their first PC of the match. Harmanpreet Singh ferociously deflected a drag-flick into the right corner, giving India a much-needed, if not entirely deserved, lead.
India capitalized on that advantage with a fast start to the second half. A brilliant pass from Jarmanpreet Singh opened up the German defence, only to find a perfect deflection from Sukhjeet Singh, who put India two goals ahead. 11 minutes later, Sukhjeet scored again when Manpreet Singh hit a long pass from midfield into the attacking circle which was well picked up by youngster S Karthi who then helped Sukhjeet score his second goal of the game and India’s third against a formidable German defense. .
The visitors, however, managed a goal in the 45th minute when Elian Mazkour set up Paul-Philipp Kaufmann to score. India displayed excellent deep defending in the closing moments of the match with Germany taking out their goalkeeper and adding an extra man to their attack. Always known for finishing well, Germany scored a goal with just over two minutes to go. It was Hannes Muller who set up Michel Struthoff’s goal.
The action did not end there, as India were awarded a penalty kick in the dying seconds of the match, but Harmanpreet was unable to convert the goal, but eventually held on to a 3-2 lead and won all three points.