August 09, 2020
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Champions Trophy

Gagan Ajit Saves The Day

The livewire Punjab striker scores barely a minute before the hooter to rescue the Indians, who appeared totally clueless against a second string German side

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Gagan Ajit Saves The Day
outlookindia.com
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Lacklustre India relied on a 69th minute goal by forward Gagan Ajit Singh to rekindle their hopes of breaking the Champions Trophy jinx with a hard fought 3-2 victory over Germany in the Champions Trophy at Amstelveen.

Required to put their best foot forward after the agonising 3-4 defeat against Holland in the lung opener, the Indians were a pale shadow of themselves and were lucky to record their first victory in a match which seldom rose to great heights.

Live wire Gagan Ajit struck the match winner barely a minute before the hooter to save the day for the Indians who appeared to be totally clueless against a second string German side, who were undaunted by India's reputation as a hockey powerhouse.

The shocking loss against the hosts yesterday seemed to haunt the Indians as they failed to find any momentum in the opening session with most of their goal-bound moves lacking sting. The Germans dominated for most part of the contest as the Indians played with little purpose or imagination.

Trailing by a solitary goal scored by Benedikt Sperling at the half-time, the Indians restored parity early in the second session through Gagan Ajit but the unfancied Germans took the lead again when Alexander Sahmel converted a penalty stroke in the 46th minute.

The Indians, desperate to deny any space near the goalmouth to the rampaging German defenders, erred in pulling down an opposition player prompting the referee to award a penalty stroke against them.

Prabhjot Singh equalised a few minutes later when he slammed the ball into a vacant goal much to the relief of the Indians, who were beginning to look desperate as the clock ticked away.

India scored the winner when Gagan Ajit, getting a pass from Baljit Singh Dhillon from outside the circle, dribbled past a couple of players before slamming home.

Earlier, Winger Rehan Butt slammed a backhander 84 seconds from the close to fetch Pakistan a thrilling 6-5 victory against Argentina while veteran Teun de Nooijer masterminded a brilliant 5-3 win for holders Holland against Australia.

PTI

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