Vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh continued his goal-scoring spree with a brace as the Indian men's hockey team defeated an inexperienced Germany 3-0 in the first match of the two-leg tie to extend its lead in the FIH Pro League standings here on Thursday.
Harmanpreet converted two penalty corners for India in the 18th and 27th minutes, while Abhishek scored from another set-piece in the 45th minute.
With half a dozen of Germany's 22-member squad making its senior debut here, the vast gap between the two sides was evidently visible.
By virtue of this win, India has consolidated its position at the top of the table with 24 points from 11 games, while the Germans are placed second with 17 points from nine matches.
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Both the teams will lock horns again in the second match of the tie at the Kalinga Stadium on Friday. The Indians started on a bright note and secured a penalty corner early into the first quarter but Jugraj Singh's effort from a penalty corner was kept out by the German defence and from the resultant rebound Nilkanata Sharma shot wide. India enjoyed a lot of possession in the first quarter but the forwardline hasn't been clinical enough to bury the chances.
India continued in the same vein in the second quarter and took the lead in the 18th minute through none other than Harmanpreet from a penalty corner with a superbly executed dragflick.
India earned another penalty corner soon but this time Gierman goalkeeper Alexander Stadler denied Harmanpreet.
But Harmanpreet doubled India's lead three minutes from half-time, wrong-footing Stadler from another set-piece.
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The Indians kept up the pressure after the change of ends and created plenty of scoring opportunities but the young German defence stood firm but were also guilty of conceding a lot of plenty corners.
And from such an opportunity, Abhishek deflected in Harmanpreet's variation to hand India a comfortable 3-0 lead just at the end of the third quarter.
Minutes into the fourth and final quarter, Germany conceded another penalty corner but this time Stadler kept out Harmanpreet's try.
The Germans gave a good account of themselves in the final 15 minutes but they gave too many chances to the Indians in the form of penalty corners which cost them dearly.
The Germans conceded eight penalty corners but failed to secure a single one in the entire 60 minutes.