Akashdeep Singh India
Akashdeep Singh scored the vital goal for IndiaHockey India

The performance was much better, after a diabolically poor one against Argentina in the opening match of the Hockey World League Final in Raipur, and thanks to an Akashdeep Singh equaliser in the final quarter of the match India held Germany to a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

Smarting from a 3-0 loss at the hands of Argentina, India looked to bounce back by beating the world number three team in the world, and on another day they might have done that as well, even if they will look back at this match with pride.

It was expected to be a close match, and so it was, and the most important aspect in such matches is the opening goal. That first goal went to Germany, and that too as early as the fifth minute of the game.

Niklas Wellen was the one who found the target, but he had the simplest job in the world, just directing the ball with his stick into an open goal. All the work was done by Timur Oruz, who made a brilliant run from the Germany right, waltzing past two India defenders like they weren't there, before squaring the ball perfectly for Wellen to tap in.

It could have been 2-0 soon after as well, had it not been for a brilliant double save from PR Sreejesh, the goalkeeper who has, time and again, saved India.

To India's credit, they went on the attack, desperately in search of the equaliser, and they had a couple of decent chances as well, but Andreas Spack was in top form, keeping the danger out more often than not.

India, who had 24 circle penetrations in all, also missed the lone penalty corner they received, as Rupinder Singh saw his strike saved on the line by a Germany defender. The ball rebounded for Ramandeep, but the Indian player panicked a little and failed to find the right strike.

It looked like being another frustrating night for India, despite a concerted attacking effort, but then all of India's pressure finally paid off, as a brilliant move from India bore fruit. A nice pass from Manpreet Singh fell perfectly for Akashdeep to apply the finish with a reverse flick, with Spack left with no chance of making a save.

India, though, shot themselves in the foot soon after, as a poor tackle from Ramandeep ended up in him receiving a yellow card with nine minutes to go. With an extra man on the pitch for five minutes, Germany, who played out a goalless draw with the Netherlands in their HWL Final opener, took control of possession, but they could not find the winner, as India defended gallantly.

Also read