Champions Trophy 2016 | India loses two-goal lead, settle for a draw against Germany

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Champions Trophy 2016 | India loses two-goal lead, settle for a draw against Germany

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Amlan Majumdar

06/10/2016

Despite putting on a stunning display of pressing and counter-attacking hockey, India had to settle for a 3-3 draw against Germany in their first match of the Hockey Champions Trophy at London on Friday. Jonas Gomoll's last minute penalty stroke grabbed a point for the defending champions.

Germany started the match on the front foot, and earned a penalty corner in the 2nd minute of the game. However, Raghunath charged down the drag flick, and India escaped unscathed. The penalty corner almost acted as a waking up call for the men in blue, as they started to press the German players all over the pitch. In one of those presses, Chinglensana Singh won the ball in the attacking half and embarked on a driving run before he was brought down by Martin Zwicker. The referee was quick to award a penalty corner to India, and Raghunath announced his return to international hockey with a smashing finish past the German goalkeeper.

India grew in confidence after taking the unlikely lead against the reigning champions. They kept pressurizing the German midfielders when they were in possession of the ball, and did not allow them a lot of time or space on the ball. Whenever the Germans did manage to get past India's press, PR Sreejesh made sure that they did not find the back of the net with some fine saves.

India received a golden chance to double their lead at the start of the second quarter, when Tom Grambusch fouled Akashdeep Singh after a great run by him from the deep. However, Raghunath could not hit the target this time, and the score remained 0-1.

SV Sunil did have the ball in the net few minutes later, when Thimmaiah found him with pass after a swift counter attack, but a referral by the umpire showed that the ball touched Sunil's feet before score the goal. The goal was disallowed, but it was a sign of things to come.

After Sreejesh denied Fuchs with a fine save in the 22nd minute, Germany received another chance to equalize, when Raghunath used his foot to defend a cross from the left and the referee awarded a penalty corner. This time the Germans made no mistake as Grambusch scored a brilliant drag flick down the middle to make it 1-1.

However, the parity lasted just few seconds as India regained the lead through Mandeep Singh with another fast counter attack. SV Sunil flew down the right wing, leaving German defenders at his wake, before cutting it back for Mandeep, who got ahead of his marker, to score.

India doubled their lead in the 32nd minute of the game with Harmanpreet scoring from a penalty corner to make it 1-3. However, it was once again SV Sunil, who made the difference. The forward brought down a long ball from Raghunath and blazed down the right wing before finding the foot of Lukas Windfeder and earning a penalty corner.

However, the match turned on its head when Danish Mujtaba earned a green card, and two minute suspension in the 34th minute. India went down to 10 men, and Germany made full use of their numerical advantage and earned a penalty corner. Grambush scored from it, and that set the pigeons among the cats.

The Indian defence, which had looked solid for most of the match, started panicking and one minute later, Talwinder earned a yellow card, and with it a suspension of five minutes. Germany began to dominate possession as India sat back.

Moritz Rothlander missed a brilliant chance to score from a one-on-one situation on Sreejesh, but the Indian custodian came up with another save to keep his team ahead. However, with three minutes remaining on the clock, Pardeep Mor conceded a penalty stroke as he prevented the ball from crossing the line from behind the goalkeeper. Jonas Gomoll stepped up to the spot and put the ball into the roof of the net to make it 3-3.

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