Rio 2016 | Lucky Germans leave India with a heartbreak

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Rio 2016 | Lucky Germans leave India with a heartbreak

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Amlan Majumdar

08/08/2016

Despite dominating the Group B clash against Germany, India were left to rue missed opportunities as Christopher Ruhr scored a goal in the dying seconds of the game to win the match 2-1 for his nation. Earlier, Rupinder Pal Singh had scored from a penalty corner to cancel out Niklas Wellen's opener.

India found themselves under pressure in the opening exchanges of the match as Germany kept the ball patiently and pressed India hard when they lost it. However, India maintained their shape at the back and kept the defending champions at bay during the first quarter. Neither of the teams took unnecessary risks in the first quarter by pushing too many men forward in attack, as it turned out to be a game of chess.

However, Germany came in the second quarter with a lot more positive intent, and Niklas Wellen gave them the lead in the 17th minute. After some patient build-up play outside the shooting circle, Wellen was picked out in the box by a piercing pass, and he found the left bottom corner of the net with a well-placed shot. Sreejesh dived to his right but had no chance of saving that shot.

India did not take long to reply, though. Minutes after conceding the opening goal, SV Sunil won a penalty corner for India after a fantastic run down the right wing. Rupinder Singh stepped up and blazed a low and powerful drive past Nicolas Jacobi in the German goal to make it 1-1, with just 6 minutes to go for the halftime. It was his third goal of the tournament, after scoring two against Ireland in the opener.

In the third quarter, India had the upper hand. They won a penalty corner in the 8th minute of the third quarter, and Rupinder Pal Singh, once again, drilled in a powerful drag-flick. But this time, Nicolas Jacobi dived to his right to pull out a fantastic save and keep the scores level. Just seconds later, he made another good save, this time with his foot, to deny Nikkin Thimmaiah as India went for the kill.

In the fourth quarter, Germany received their first penalty corner of the match in the 47th minute, but Sreejesh did well to deny him. Four minutes later, Rupinder Pal Singh missed a golden chance to give India the lead from a penalty corner and it would come back to haunt India in the end.

Despite being the better side in the last two quarters, India came out of the game empty-handed. With 3.1 seconds remaining on the clock, Christopher Ruhr scored the winner for Germany with a lucky deflection that just evaded Sreejesh, and landed in the corner of the net.

It was a heartbreaking result for the team who produced a stunning performance on the day and perhaps even deserved to win the game. The might have lost this match, but if they can maintain this performance, then they might very well end up with a medal this year.

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