Hockey World League Final: India hold Olympic champions Germany to a 1-1 draw

Akashdeep equalised in the 47th minute with a fine reverse hit to the left off an Manpreet Singh assist.

PTI| Updated: Nov 28, 2015, 23:02 PM IST
Hockey World League Final: India hold Olympic champions Germany to a 1-1 draw

Raipur: Brushing aside the disappointing show against Argentina in the tournament opener, hosts India produced a much-improved performance as they held Olympic champions Germany to a 1-1 draw in their second Pool B match of the Hockey World League (HWL) Final, here on Saturday.

Although India were by far the better side on display today, it was the Germans, who struck first in the sixth minute through a field goal from Niklas Wellen.

The hosts then put relentless pressure on a strong German defence that crumbled in the 47th minute when Akashdeep Singh restored parity.

Unlike yesterday's match against Argentina, the Indians showed more urgency from the word go today and attacked the German defence with much more purpose and intent thereby creating more opportunities than their rivals.

Contrary to Germany's lead, India were the dominant force in the first half. The hosts enjoyed superior ball possession and also had the much higher number of shots at the goal than their opposition.

India's first real scoring chance came in the third minute when Chinglensana Singh came close to giving India the lead but his feeble push from inside the circle was easily padded away by the German goalie Andreas Spack.

Two minutes later, Indian skipper Sardar Singh had set it up for Talwinder Singh with a brilliant ball from outside the box but the striker completely messed up the opportunity.

The Germans were bang on target with their first attack and took the lead against the run of play in the next minute, courtesy serious defensive lapse from the Indians.

Mathias Muller went past three Indian players from the right flank to set it up for Wellen, who struck with ease to give Germany the lead.

Indian custodian PR Sreejesh made a double save in the ninth minute, first denying Constantin Staib and then Oliver Korn as Germany led by a goal after the end of the first quarter.

Although trailing, India kept up the pressure and created another scoring opportunity in the 24th minute when Sardar found Akashdeep Singh inside the box but the striker's reverse hit from top of the bos was saved by German skipper Spack.

India continued to exert pressure on the German defence and in the process earned their first penalty corner two minutes into the third quarter. The resultant flick from Rupinder Pal Singh ricocheted off the post in front of an unmarked Ramandeep Singh, who failed to properly connect on the rebound.

Minutes later, Sreejesh again came to India's rescue when he kept away Florian Fuchs' reverse shot.

In the 39th minute, Germany secured their first penalty corner which they wasted.

India's relentless pressure, however, bore fruit in the 47th minute when Akashdeep equalised with a fine reverse hit to the left of the German goalkeeper after receiving an assist from Manpreet Singh.

The Indians maintained their pressure in the rest of the match but failed to break the German defence, although they came close to scoring a few occasions.

The Germans too exerted some pressure in the final few minutes of the match but the Indian defence was strong enough to thwart the threats.

By virtue of this draw, India opened their account in the tournament while the Germans registered their second consecutive draw after their goalless finish against Netherlands yesterday.

India will next play defending champions Netherlands on Monday while Germany will lock horns against Argentina.

Meanwhile in the other match of Pool B, defending champions Netherlands defeated Argentina 3-2 in a closely fight duel.

The Netherlands scored three field goals which came from the sticks of Thierry Brinkman (10th minute), Seve van Ass (17th) and Roel Bovendeert (22nd).

But Argentina made a strong fightback through drag-flicker Gonzalo Peillat (30th, 39th) who converted two penalty corners to bring the Los Leones back in the match.

The Netherlands will face hosts India in their last pool match on Monday while Argentina will play Germany.