Indians stun Germany

Indians stun Germany

At last India tasted victory. The hosts put breaks on their losing streak by pulling off an astonishing 5-4 win over Germany in the dying minutes and sealed a spot for the fifth-place play-off in the Hero Hockey World League Final here on Friday.

The Indians staged an impressive fightback against the Olympic champions. Down 0-2, India lit a cold and overcast day with an effervescent performance. The Indians had held Germany to a 3-3 draw in their Pool B match but they went a step further this day in a thrilling clash.

Mandeep Singh (18th, 41st, 53rd) struck thrice while Rupinder Pal Singh (39th, 70th) scored a brace.

The match faced the prospect of a penalty shootout with the two sides knotted at 4-4 but India got a penalty corner in the 69th minute. Rupinder kept his nerves to sweep straight pass the goalkeeper Tim Jessulat and India, ranked 10th, along with the boisterous crowd plunged the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium into extended celebrations.

No one could have predicted the final scoreline when Germany took the lead through their captain Oliver Korn (4th), who scored from a rebound, and doubled it when Thilo Stralkowski’s dragflick found the mark within two minutes.

The deficit spurred the Indians who were a bit too defensive at the start. The gears were changed and their blustery counter-attacks took the Germans by surprise.

Mandeep opened the account by applying finishing touches to a well stitched move with a firm strike from top of the circle. Though Benjamin Wess (27th) secured a 3-1 lead for Germany, India returned a much stronger outfit in the second half.

Rupinder and Mandeep scored within two minutes to level scores at 3-3. India raised the tempo when Mandeep scored for the third time. Germany swiftly equalised with a penalty corner goal from Martin Häner (55th). But India had the last laugh with Rupinder’s goal.

India now play Belgium for the fifth place on Saturday while Germany take on Argentina.Classification results: India: 5 (Mandeep Singh 18th, 41st, 53rd, Rupinder Pal Singh 39th, 70th) bt Germany: 4 (Oliver Korn 4th, Thilo Stralkowski 6th, Benjamin Wess 27th, Martin Haner 55th); Belgium: 3 (Own goal 22nd) bt Argentina: 1 (Matias Rey 22nd) via penalty shoot-out. FT: 1-1.

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