Harpal Singh Bedi  

New Delhi, 14 April; Riding on  drag flicker Harmanpreet Singh’s brace  India overpowered Germany  3-0 in the first leg of their   Hockey  Pro League at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, on Thursday.

Harmanpreet converted two penalty corners in  in 18’ and  27’ while Abhishek (45’) deflect in a third goal  as the hosts collected three points.

With the win, India top the league table with 24 points from 11 matches. Germany are second with 17 points from nine games.

India, went on the offensive from the start but the new look  German side was, solid with their defence.

The home team made the first  incisive move in the fifth minute but captain Amit Rohidas could not control an aerial ball on the right side of the goal.

A minute later, the hosts earned their first penalty corner  but  Jugraj Singh  was foiled by the charging German defence.

The visitors had a chance to surge ahead in the 10th minute but  Harmanpreet Singh made a  timely clearance from right in front of the  goal .

Although India had more opportunities to score, the young German team defended in numbers to end the first quarter with the score at 0-0.

Early in the second period, a push from Benedikt Schwarzhaupt on Manpreet Singh inside the circle earned India their second penalty corner.

Harmanpreet  the highest scorer of the ongoing  League, converted the penalty corner  with a beautiful flick to the bottom right corner and handed India the lead (1-0). It was his 15th goal of the season.

The Men in Blue could have increased  their lead in the 23d minute, but Harmanpreet’s attempt was  cleared by  goalkeeper Alexander Stadler.

The visitors , on the other hand, tried to build from the back but had little success as action moved to the other end of the pitch.

In the 27th minute  India made it 2-0 as Harmanpreet Singh converted another penalty corner. This time, it was a low, slow shot to the bottom right which the goalkeeper failed to judge.

.In the second session Germany upped their attacking intent but almost conceded one more after a brilliant counter attack from India.

Hardik Singh made a solo das  all the way from his own circle to the opposite end. He could not score but earned  his team a penalty corner, which however was muffed.

Germany played the possession game for the remainder of the third period, which did not fetch any goals.

However  India, managed to score the third goal  following another penalty corner. Harmanpreet’  slammed the ball low to the left of the charging defenders. Abhishek cleverly deflected the ball home (3-0 ).

The fourth quarter saw India easing off on the attack and Germany upping the ante.

A string of attacks from the visitors earned them a penalty corner in the 53rd minute but India used their video referral to overturn the decision.

Goalkeeper Krishan Pathak, who was hardly tested in the first three quarters, was on his toes in the final minutes.

With two minutes to go, Hardik Singh was shown the yellow card but it meant little as India comfortably sealed a 3-0 victory.

India will play Germany again on April 15 at the same venue.