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Home > Sports > Hockey > PTI > Report

Germany add to India's woes

December 14, 2005 21:10 IST
Last Updated: December 14, 2005 21:43 IST

India went downto Germany 0-1 in their fourth outing in the Champions Trophy hockey tournament, in Chennai on Wednesday.

The lone goal of the match came in the 16th minute, when German drag-flicker Jan Marco Montag converted a penalty-corner.

India played below par. Under the captaincy of an off-colour Gagan Ajit Singh, the home team never looked like getting a positive result with poor finishing dogging the forward line.

The Indians had a sluggish performance in the first-half, without any real bite either in defence or the attack.

However, the stand-out performer for India was goalkeeper Bharat Chetri, whose presence of mind and brilliant reflexes saved at least five certain goals.

His preparedness for the challenge was visible right from the start when he deflected a dangerous shot away from goal in the second minute.

However, the Germans utilised their second penalty-corner to take the lead as Montag's shot rushed into the goal bisecting Chetri and Kanwalpreet Singh.

In the second half, the Indians were betterorganised. The forwards tried out some variations while defender William Xalxo was given a chance to bolster the defence.

The entire Indian frontline comprising Gagan Ajit, Probhjot Singh and Tushar Khandekar put up a miserable display as they failed to penetrate the German defence after running down on the flanks. Time and again the German defenders, who made tight markings, cleared the ball easily and were in no real danger.

After saving twice in the first half, Chetri, who was adjudged the man-of-the-match, brought off his third save of the day in the 37th minute, blocking Montag's shot off Germany's third penalty corner.

Two minutes later, Germans forced another penalty-corner and in a variation went for an indirect hit through captain Timo Wess, but it turned out to be a damp squib.

India forced their lone penalty corner of the match in the 45th minute, but Sandeep Singh's shot was saved bygoalkeeper Ulrich Bubolz.

Bubolz went on to foil India's only other scoring chance in the dying minutes.

The hosts, with three points from their sole win against Pakistan, now face the prospect of playing forfourth and fifth places.

Australia scrape past Holland

Earlier in the day, Australia booked their berth in the final of the tournament,beating The Netherlands 3-2.

With their fourth successive victoryin as many matches, the Australians notched12 points andcontinue to lead the table, while the Dutch have sevenfrom two wins and a draw and are placed second.

Australia, eyeing to end a five-year title drought in the tournament, were lucky to scrape through as it was the Dutch who held the edge throughout the match and came back twice to level scores through veteran Taeke Taekema, once in each session after Matt Naylor (12th) and Andrew Smith (27th) scored against run of play.

But Australia turned the match around in the dying minutes, with Mcann making a superb effort to score a field goal. Coming from the right, he entered the middle, turned and took his time to produce the winning reverse flick which brook no answer from the Dutch goalkeper, Guus Vogels.

The Netherlands, who held ball possession for most part and kept the awesome Aussie forwards at bay, also had a couple of chances, including one when Ronald Brouwer hit a cracking shot, but both were saved by the Aussie custodian.

As the match commenced, the Netherlands showed signs of urgency perhaps wanting to prevent the Aussies from repeating their yesterday's game plan of going offensive in early stages with the frontline led by Matthijs Brouwer and Karel Klaver kept probing the Australian defence.

But against the run of play, the Australians drew first blood with their very first move. Naylor deflected a shot from Travis Brooks to become the proud scorer of the 2000th goal of the Champions Trophy. The Dutch, whose midfield functioned well feeding the strikers on either flanks, kept up the pressure and forced their first penalty corner in the 21st minute.

Taekema, an exponent of penalty-corner, made no mistake as his drag flick found the target.

Australia went into the lead again six minutes later with Smith's push from the top of the centre beating Vogels.

After the break, the Netherlands kept persisting and forced a penalty-corner, with Teun de Noojier providing the opening. Taekema duly sounded the board to level scores 2-2.

Even as the match appeared to be heading for a draw, the Australians, in a sudden move, capitalized on a rare defensive lapse by the Dutch and McCann scored the wining goal.

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