Germany overcome fighting Indians 3-2 in practice match at Tokyo
Indian men were waiting for this day. They were longing for an encounter, practice or serious, to test the turf and their own at Tokyo since they landed in Tokyo for days ago. They had a serious outing today, fourth day of their stay in Tokyo.
They engaged Germany on the main turf around 12.00 in the noon (Japan time). India put up a measured fight in the first quarter before caving into the German assault in the next. However, a brave third quarter, which is also last of the shortened match, saw India scoring a brace of goals, one apiece from Mandeep Singh and Dilipreet Singh to make it a match and get a measure of justifiable satisfaction. Germany though won the first of the practice match 2-3 today at Oi hockey stadium, Tokyo.
It was first practice match for India which had just completed its 3-day quarantine, which prevented them from engaging with other teams. Of course, they had team practice on all three days on the practice pitches which are almost half the size of the North and South turfs.
India-Germany Practice match at Tokyo
It was a hot day. The match started after almost 30 minutes of warm up. It was India that looked going ahead when it pressed hard from both wings. As a result India got a penalty corner nine minutes in to the game. However, Vivek Sagar Prasad could not stop the pushed ball, and it bounced outside the circle.
Two minutes later, Lalit Upadhyay, who proved elusive for the Germans, set up Gurjant on the top of D with a gentle pass but, despite at a good position to trap and strike, he missed to trap. Even the chief coach nodded in disbelief.
A minute before the first break, German left winger surged from his wing, outwitting chasing Amit Prasad, entered the D with a couple of trick in the air to strike an acute shot, which sent the ball to the other corner of the net (0-1).
Ten minutes later, Germany earned its first penalty corner. The direct hit was brilliantly saved by goalie Krishan Pathak – who replaced Sreejesh in the first quarter – but could not prevent from conceding another penalty corner from which the team enlarged the lead (0-2).
Shortly, Lalit’s backhander was just cleared by ever-alert Martin Haner at the goaline, leaving the entire Indian bench in disbelief.
The quarter came to an end, as India was seen pressing hard to get a goal.
It came through Mandeep Singh, who was almost rested in the preceding quarter. He was quick to lap it on a midfield through pass before whacking a forehand from top of the circle (1-2). However, the lead survived only a couple of minutes. German right winger earned a penalty corner, shot of which was kicked out by Sreejesh.
Germany India practice match at Tokyo. Lalit had a wonderful time, setting up goals
Seven minutes into the third quarter, he saved another penalty corner. Dilipreet got a chance to equalize but he fumbled. Amit Rohidas set him up with a neat pass from near the top of circle, only to see Dilipret harried to stop it.
In the ensued scramble, German forward picked up the ball, surged form the left wing into the circle, unchallenged and whacked a goal (3-1). This goals should be a cause for concern for Graham Reid. IT could have been avoided with a bit more caution from the Indian defence.
Dilipreet Singh shortly made amends for his earlier miss with a close range push that reduced the margin to 2-3. Again, its Amit who set him up for the opportunistic goal.
Former Indian Olympian Shivendra Singh, who is manager of the team, was the umpire while another from German took care of another half.
After the match, which ended after three quarters, a penalty shoot out was also held. Each side took six tries. India won the shoot out with Sreejesh saving twice.
For India, Nilakanta Sharma, Lalit Upadhyay, Rupinder Pal Singh, Vivek Prasad scored their quota before Harmanpreet Singh missed his. Coming last Mandeep Singh also scored outwitting the German goalie.
It was a practice match. Nothing much need to be read over the outcome.