India stun Germany, Netherlands beat Kiwis
Hosts India stunned Beijing Olympics' champions Germany 2-0 in a league match of the Punjab Gold Cup hockey tournament at the Sector 42 hockey stadium in Chandigarh, reports Saurabh Duggal.india Updated: Feb 04, 2009 13:13 IST
Put on notice by selector Aslam Sher Khan, the senior players in the Indian team were under pressure to perform against Olympic champions Germany in the crucial league match of the Punjab Gold Cup on Tuesday.
Dilip Tirkey, the world's most capped player with 360-plus matches behind him, responded in style by scoring an opportunistic goal off a poorly-stopped penalty-corner push and then Prabhjot Singh, another senior on the comeback, sealed a convincing 2-0 victory for the hosts.
Though Germany are the reigning World and Olympic champions and the current top dogs in rankings, they have fielded a young side and the inexperience showed as they failed to create good chances despite making a number of fast breaks. They held sway for a long period towards the end of first half but could not score.
India will also have to thank custodian Baljit Singh, who made the hosts' day with a brilliant performance in the cage.
Local lad Baljit made couples of superb saves to assure India full three points and was declared man of the match for his excellent performance.
The seniors too held their own, particularly Dilip Tirkey and Vikram Pillay, who proved his worth by creating some good moves. His passing and diving tackles were a lesson for all youngsters.
After Tirkey put India ahead in the 2nd minute, the Germans pulled up their socks and took control of the proceedings. They earned seven penalty corners in the first half but failed to convert any because of Baljit, who stood like a rock. The visitors earned their eighth and last penalty corner in the 67th minute but wasted that too.
India on the other hand had a 100 per cent record in penalty corner conversion. After managing to hold on their first half lead well into the second session, India cemented their victory when Prabhjot scored in the 53rd minute when India earned a PC off a move generated by Rajpal and Pillay.
Rajpal sent in a measured push and Sandeep Singh unleashed a strong drag flick that was blocked by the German goalkeeper. Prabhjot, who was lurking around, slammed home a reverse hit to make it 2-0 for India.
Earlier, Holland defeated New Zealand 4-1. Bob Voogd (2nd min), Lucas Judge (7th), Wouter Jolie (12th) and Floris Evers (60th) scored for Holland while Nicholas Wilson (42nd min) pumped in the lone consolation for New Zealand.
First Published: Feb 04, 2009 12:31 IST