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India go down to hosts Germany
April 16, 2006 18:43 IST
India started their campaign in the four-nation invitational hockey tournament in Germany on a disastrous note, going down 1-4 to the hosts at Warsteiner Hockey Park in Monchengladbach on Sunday.
The match was tied 1-1 at half time but India, playing under new coach V Baskaran, spoiled the good work by letting Germany pump in three goals after the breather.
Christopher Zeller, who scored three goals (23rd, 37th and 69th minutes), was the main architect of the host team's win on Saturday while Sebastian Draguhn (44th) chipped in with one.
Young striker Tushar Khandekar (29th) was the lone scorer for India.
Spain defeated Argentina 1-0 in another match on Saturday.
In the absence of some of their main players, Germany's error-prone attack faltered while penetrating into the Indian defence in the first half.
After Zeller failed to convert the first penalty corner, Matthias Witthaus lost a big opportunity to score in the 21st minute thanks to the exploits of Indian goalkeeper Bharat Chetri.
Germans drew first blood when a Nicolas Emmerling pass from the backline found a perfectly positioned Zeller in front of the goal and the latter shot home without wasting any time.
A few minutes later, Indians fought back to score the equaliser through Khandekar.
The Germans played with purpose after the change of ends while India lost track.
Couple of minutes after the break, Zeller converted a penalty corner to give his side a 2-1 lead and within 10 minutes Sebastian Draguhn netted the third goal for the hosts.
The Germans messed up a few more chances, including two penalty corners.
In the dying moments, Zeller put it past Chetri once again to hammer the final nail on India's coffin.
Indian team manager G M Srivastava said the team played well in the first half, but could not keep up the momentum in the second.
"Our performance was very good in the first half. But something went wrong in the second," he said.
However, he expressed satisfaction over the players' ability to acclimatise and staying fit.
"It's good that our players have managed to acclimatise very quickly and all are fit. Key players like Dilip Tirkey, Gagan Ajit Singh and Jugraj Singh played almost the full duration of the match," he said.
Srivastava said the Indian team would play the second match against Spain with the same line-up.