Dusseldorf (Germany): India's hockey team settled for a 2-2 draw against Germany in a high voltage encounter at the 3 Nations Invitational Tournament here on Saturday.
Mandeep Singh (45th minute) and Sardar Singh scored for India, while Niklas Wellen (13th) scored Germany's first goal and Tobias Hauke (52nd) scored the equaliser.
With both Germany and India losing their first match at the hands of Belgium, there was no doubt that this was going to be a closely-contested match and neither teams disappointed. Both Germany and India raced out of the blocks at a frenetic pace, attacking each other constantly from hooter to hooter.
India's goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya was kept busy in the first quarter with Germany winning their first penalty corner in the fourth minute but he did well to come up with an impressive save and deny an early lead to the Germans.
In the 12th minute, India came close to taking a 1-0 lead when forwards S.V. Sunil and Ramandeep Singh worked in tandem in the striking circle to take a shot on goal but the latter's deflection went wide. Soon after, though, Germany found success when Niklas Wellen scored with a deflection to give Germany a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute.
In the second quarter, an in-form Wellen came close to scoring his second goal of the match. It was an open goal with no Indian defender posing a threat but his flick was off target with the ball going over the post. Even as Germany pressed hard, Ramandeep found another chance to take a shot on goal with a good assist by Pardeep Mor but his deflection was off the mark.
Germany were constantly attacking and the pressure was evident on Indian players as they made unwarranted error which resulted in Germany winning their second penaty corner of the match. But India's vice captain Chinglensana Singh made a brave save.
The third quarter, however, belonged to India as they made great amends to get ahead of Germany. First it was India's captain Mandeep who struck the equaliser in the 45th minute. Soon after, Sardar wielded magic with inspiring dribbling abilities to carry the ball into the circle and successfully take a shot on the goal. There was little scope for the German keeper to stop this one, and India celebrated their second goal.
With a crucial 2-1 lead, India pushed hard to stay ahead of Germany but seven minutes into the fourth quarter Germany equalised. It was 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medallist Hauke who converted the goal.
With just five minutes left for the final hooter, both teams continued to play on par with each other even as the score remained a deadlock at 2-2. Indian goalkeeper Akash Chikte made a great save in the dying minutes of the match.
With little less than two minutes to end the match, Germany won a penalty corner but India's defence was rock solid to deny them the opportunity and take the match to a draw.
India will play their next match on Monday against Belgium.