India settles for 2-2 draw against Germany

Mandeep Singh and Sardar Singh put India in the lead but the home side found an equaliser in the form of Tobias Hauke’s strike in the fourth quarter.

India’s Sardar Singh got on the scoresheet against Germany in the three-nation Invitational Tournament. (file image)   -  Getty

Indian men’s hockey team came from a goal down to settle for a 2-2 draw against Germany in a high-voltage match of the three-nation Invitational Tournament on Saturday.

Niklas Wellen (13th minute) gave Germany the lead before Mandeep Singh (45th) and talismanic Sardar Singh (45th) struck the board in quick time to hand India the lead.

But experienced Tobias Hauke came to the home team’s rescue and scored the equaliser in the 52nd minute. With both India and Germany losing their first match against Belgium, there was no doubt that this was going to be a closely contested match and neither teams disappointed.

Both India and Germany raced out of their blocks at a frenetic pace, attacking each other constantly from the word go. Indian goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya was kept busy by the mighty Germans in the first quarter. The hosts earned their first penalty corner in the fourth minute but Dahiya did well to come up with an impressive save and deny an early lead to the Germans.

In the 12th minute of the match, India came close to taking the lead when forwards SV Sunil and Ramandeep Singh worked in tandem in the striking circle to take a shot on goal but Ramandeep’s deflection went just wide. Soon after, though, Germany found success when Wellen perfectly deflected the ball into the Indian goal.

In the second quarter, an in-form Wellen came close to scoring his second goal of the match. It was an open goal with no Indian defender posing a threat but his flick was off target with the ball going over the post. Even as Germany pressed hard, Ramandeep found another chance to take a shot on goal with a good assist from Pardeep Mor but his deflection was off the mark.

Germany were constantly attacking and the pressure was evident on Indian defence as they made unwarranted error which resulted in Germany winning their second penalty corner of the match. But India’s vice-captain Chinglensana Singh made a brave save to deny the Germans.

The third quarter, however, belonged to India as they made great amends to get ahead of Germany. First it was India’s young sensation Mandeep who scored with an impressive strike to equalise for India in the 45th minute. Soon after, Sardar wielded magic with his inspiring dribbling abilities to carry the ball into the circle and successfully take a shot on goal.

With a crucial 2-1 lead, India pushed hard to stay ahead of Germany but seven minutes into the fourth quarter the hosts equalised through Hauke’s strike.

With just five minutes left for the final hooter, both teams pressed hard for the winner and India’s reserve goalkeeper Akash Chikte made a great save in the dying minutes of the match to save the day for his side.

India will play their next match against Belgium on Monday.

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