The Indian men's hockey team consolidated its lead at the top of the FIH Pro League standings by defeating Germany 3-1 in the second match of the double-leg tie at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar on Friday. (More Hockey News)
After the first quarter saw none of the teams scoring a goal, India’s Sukhjeet Singh broke the deadlock in the 19th minute, Varun Kumar then doubled the lead in the 41st minute before Anton Boeckel could reduce the gap by scoring one for Germany in the 45th minute. Abhishek put the final nail in Germany’s coffin with a 54th minute goal as the match eventually ended 3-1.
Notably, India had already won the first leg game against Germany 3-0 on Thursday.
It was a different script from the game last night as Germany learned from their mistakes and limited India’s penalty corner attempts to just 3 all game. But it was the Indian youngsters who also lifted their game, with young Sukhjeet and Abhishek scoring a goal apiece from the field, to go with a Varun Kumar drag flick goal from a penalty corner, that gave India enough of a lead to see out the game without too much discomfort.
After a goalless first quarter, India came out stronger. They kept putting pressure on Germany and finally reaped the fruit when a long corner saw some great work by a combination of Hardik, Manpreet and Nilakanta. Nilakanta then sent a fast pass towards the goal and Sukhjit smartly got ahead of Germany goalkeeper Jean Danneberg to deflect the ball in.
10 minutes into the 3rd quarter, Lalit showed great skill to run into the German circle and baited the German defence into fouling him, winning India their first penalty corner of the game. Varun Kumar took on the corner instead of Harmanpreet and blasted a low flick to the left bottom corner of the goal to double India’s lead.
Germany bounced back into the game with the help of Boeckel’s lone goal right at the end of the 3rd quarter. However, the Men in Blue scored another by Abhishek and sealed the game comfortably in their favour.
The team that entertained us all throughout these two months!— Odisha Sports (@sports_odisha) April 15, 2022
You definitely made our weekends interesting.
Thank you, and wish you the best for your away matches. 🙌
𝗧𝗘𝗔𝗠 𝗜𝗡𝗗𝗜𝗔𝗔𝗔 🇮🇳#FIHProLeague #KalingaStadium pic.twitter.com/SKuv9x7lIg
After the win, India lead the table making a 10-point gap with second-placed Germany.
“It’s good to win both games but I think our finishing could be better and we have a long break before our next match, so we will work on it and do better in our next game,” said Player of the match Nilakanta Sharma.
The game on Friday marked the end of India's home campaign in the FIH Pro League. The action will now shift to Argentina for the next set of matches in both women’s and men’s season of the Pro League.
(With FIH Inputs)