FIH Pro League 2023/24: Indian women’s hockey team suffers 2-4 defeat vs Germany

IANS Photo

London, June 8 (IANS) The Indian women’s hockey team suffered a 2-4 loss against Germany despite putting up a solid show in a thrilling encounter. Sunelita Toppo (9’) and Deepika (15’) scored goals for India, while Viktoria Huse (23’, 32’), Stine Kurz (51’), and Jule Bleuel (55’) emerged as goal-scorers for Germany.

Both teams started the match offensively, making early circle entries. India earned a penalty corner in the second minute but failed to capitalise. Nevertheless, India continued to press and challenge Germany's defense, which paid off when Sunelita Toppo (9’) scored her first international goal with a powerful shot, giving India the much-deserving lead.

With the score in their favour, India focused on maintaining possession. However, Germany still managed to earn a penalty corner in the 12th minute but could not convert.

Also, just before the end of the first quarter, Vandana Katariya and Deepika combined for a brilliant counter-attack, resulting in Deepika (15’) finding the back of the net to extend India's lead to 2-0.

In the second quarter, Germany pressed hard to get back into the match, but India not only absorbed the pressure but also counter-attacked effectively. Despite India's strong defense, Germany managed to score through Viktoria Huse (23’), who converted a penalty corner with a precise and powerful shot to pull one back for her team.

Germany also came close to equalising a couple of times, but India's goalkeeper, Bichu Devi Kharibam, made some good saves, ensuring India went into the half-time break with a 2-1 lead.

Germany made early advances in the third quarter and came close to equalizing, but India managed to stop them just in time. However, Germany succeeded in levelling the score when Viktoria Huse (32’) scored her second goal of the match, once again converting a penalty corner.

Deepika then had a significant opportunity to put India ahead when she broke into the circle on a counter-attack, with only German goalkeeper Lilly Stoffelsma to beat. But the Indian forward misfired her reverse shot, thus missing the chance. Despite this, the Indian team continued to play aggressively, seeking to regain their lead, but Germany held them off, and the penultimate quarter ended with the score tied at 2-2.

The fourth quarter witnessed India win an early penalty corner but they couldn’t make the most of it, while, Germany on the other hand, converted a penalty corner for the third time in the match when Stine Kurz (51’) found the back of the net through a well-placed shot to put her side in front. Also, Jule Bleuel (55’) scored a field goal to extend Germany’s lead.

Finding themselves at the wrong end of the score line, India removed their goalkeeper to allow for 11 outfield players, but that didn’t make any difference as the match ended 4-2 in favor of Germany.

The Indian Women's Hockey Team will lock horns with Great Britain in their final FIH Pro League 2023-24 match at 4:45 PM IST on June 9.