Indian hockey girls suffer first loss on South Africa tour

Stellenbosch (South Africa), Feb 28 (IANS) The Indian women’s hockey team suffered their first loss on the tour of South Africa as they went 0-3 down to World No.8 Germany here.

India were unbeaten for five consecutive matches with four wins and one draw. They won and drew a match each against South Africa following which they drubbed the junior South African team in two successive matches. They also beat Scotland on February 25.

The first period of the match Saturday started with both teams moving cautiously in order to understand each other’s game plan. Both Germany and India concentrated on maintaining ball possession and a lot of the game was played in the mid-field.

In the second quarter World No.13 India looked to make more attacking strides and the intent was soon rewarded with a penalty corner. However, India failed to capitalise on the opportunity. The last few minutes of the first half saw Germany counter-attack and finally broke India’s defence with a field goal from the stick of Lydia Haase.

The second half took off with Germany carrying the momentum. They made many attacking moves and were again rewarded for their pressing game with another field goal from Pia-Sophie Oldhafer.

Going into the last quarter with a 0-2 deficit, India made many more attacking moves from both the flanks to establish equilibrium. But the Germans held strong and played a counter-attacking game. Germany were awarded a penalty corner soon which was successfully converted by Julia Muller to ensure a 3-0 lead.

The match ended with the same scoreline. India will again play Germany here on Sunday before taking on Scotland on March 1 for the last game of the tour.

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