FIH Hockey Pro League 2022/23 action continued from the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela, as hosts India put on another offensive masterclass to register a huge 6-3 win against world champions Germany. Abhishek and Selvam Karthi scored a brace apiece for India with Jugraj and Harmanpreet Singh adding a goal each from the penalty corners, while Tom Grambusch, Gonzalo Peillat and Malte Hellwig scored for Germany. With te win, India go to the top of the men's Pro League table, level on points with Spain, but one spot above them, thanks to a superior goal difference.
India vs Germany 6-3
India went incredibly close to opening the scoring inside two minutes of the start as Gurjant danced past his marker and sent a low cross close to the goal, finding Sukhjeet, but Sukhjeet’s contact on the ball was very light and the ball sailed past the goal. Germany made India pay for the miss instantly, scoring a penalty corner goal via Tom Grambusch. India piled on the pressure in search for an equaliser, receiving a boost a Teo Hinrichs was shown a green card for clattering into Manpreet that left the former Indian captain injured. India had the ball in the back of the goal from a Harmanpreet cross from the left sideline, but there was no touch by an Indian forward inside the circle, so Germany maintained their lead.
India created another chance from a cross as Sumit received an aerial ball by Harmanpreet inside the German circle and sent a cross that found Karthi in front of Stadler, but his touch was once again not strong enough and the ball sailed away from the goal. India found the equaliser in the 21st minute as Jugraj took on a penalty corner won by Gurjant, and placed a low drag flick between the legs of Stadler. A minute later Abhishek put India ahead as the hosts caught Germany out with a long aerial ball that was missed by Peillat and Barry, leaving Abhishek with just Stadler to beat and he did that with ease. Peillat responded just a minute later, picking the exact same spot as Grambusch earlier, bringing Germany level. India were back ahead inside 30 seconds though, as Sukhjeet received an aerial ball on the left side of the German circle and his cross was deflected in at the near post by Selvam Karthi. The goals kept flowing as India doubled their lead with Harmanpreet Singh scoring from his first penalty corner attempt of the game.
Germany halved their deficit inside a minute of the second half as an attack from the left led to a cross by Miltkau and Hellwig got in behind Jugraj to get a deflection that Pawan had no hope of reaching. Pawan made a crucial save from a German penalty corner midway through the third quarter as Jarmanpreet stopped the first flick by Grambusch, but the rebound fell to Kauffman, but Pawan stepped out and smothered his shot attempt. With the pace of the game notably slowed down, neither team added another goal as Germany went into the final quarter, down a goal.
India made the perfect start to the final quarter as Gurjant attacked from the left side and found Jarmanpreet Singh on the baseline. His pass across the face of the goal found Selvam Karthi and he scored his second of the game with a smart deflection. India made it 6-3 in the 51st minute as a brilliant crossfield pass by Dilpreet found Sukhjeet all alone with just Stadler to beat, but he selflessly chose to pass the ball to Abhishek who rolled the ball into an empty goal. Germany took Stadler off for an extra outfield player with 5 minutes left in the game but the Indian defence held strong to register an impressive win in front of a raucous crowd.
Selvam Karthi was awarded player of the match and said: “Happy to get the player of the match and score the goals. The enthusiasm and support of this huge crowd is a big lift for us and the win means extra because of it.”
FIH Pro League – 13 March 2023
Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium, Rourkela (IND)
Result: Men’s Match 28
India 6-3 Germany
Player of the Game: Selvam Karthi (IND)
Umpires: Ahmed Elsayed (EGY), Rawi Anbananthan (MAS), Paul Walker (ENG-video)