India beat Germany 3-1

India bounced back from a one-goal deficit to beat a spirited Germany 3-1 for their first win in the Champions Trophy in Lahore today.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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India bounced back from a one-goal deficit to beat a spirited Germany 3-1 for their first win in the Champions Trophy hockey tournament in Lahore today. The first half was listless display as the Indian conceded a goal in the 20th minute. But they pulled up their socks in time to secure their first points in this elite six-nation tournament at the National Stadium. They bounced back with goals from Sandeep Michael (40th minute), Arjun Halappa (59th) and Vivek Gupta (68th). Jan-Marco Montag (20th minute) scored the only goal for Germany in the match, which saw Indians dominate in the second half and play some superb hockey. Spirited attempt India struggled to get the rhythm for the better part of the first half as their opponents dominated the proceedings. Germany, fielding a second string side, made a spirited attempt on the Indian post right from the start. In fact they came quite close to scoring when Michael Purps got the ball from Christian Wein in the midfield before proceeding near the Indian circle. With hardly any player to challenge him, Purps looked all set to give Germany the lead in the fifth minute, but much to the dismay of his teammates, he stepped on the ball. Soon after, goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza came to India's rescue when he showed superb reflexes to stop Eike Duckwitz's attempt at the post as India hung on grimly to survive the German onslaught. Lost opportunities The Europeans were a lot more decisive and attacking in their approach as against a sloppy display by the Indians who had lost to Spain and Holland before this match. It came as no surprise when Germany took the lead after yet another attack on the Indian post earned them a penalty corner. Montag's superb flick from the set piece went to the right side of the goal at shoulder height, beating D'Souza. India also had their chances in the first half but they were far and few in between as they found it extremely hard to penetrate their opponents' defence. On one such occasion, just a minute before Germany took the lead, India made a very good move which saw Vikram Pillay testing German goalkeeper Ulrich Bubolz. But the custodian was smart enough to thwart the danger. Strong comeback India raised hopes for the equaliser when they earned a penalty corner just a minute before the half time, but Sandeep Singh's drag flick was deflected out by the German defenders. India gave a little more thrust to their game on resumption and it earned them immediate results as they levelled the score with a Sandeep Michael strike. Dilip Tirkey's long ball from the half line was stopped well by V S Vinay inside the German 25-yard and the forward dodged Bubolz, who charged out, before passing to Michael who had no problem in putting the ball in. The Indians grew in confidence after erasing the deficit and intensified the attack that saw them taking the lead in the last quarter of the game. (PTI)