Bhubaneswar, Dec 6: Goalkeeper P R Sreejesh's magnificent effort went in vain as Olympic champions Germany scored a late goal to beat hosts India in their opening Pool B match of the Champions Trophy at a packed Kalinga Stadium, here today.
If not for Sreejesh, the margin of defeat for India could have been higher as the Kerala custodian made innumerable number of saves to keep India in the match. But an error of judgment in the final minute of the game cost Sreejesh and India, a point, as Florian Fuchs was quick to pounce on the opportunity and score the winner.
Sreejesh rushed to tackle an onrushing Fuchs but he mistimed his jump and then the German striker kept his cool and turned the ball around Sreejesh before putting it into the net with a reverse hit just 34 seconds from the final hooter.
It was tipped as the most high-profile match of the evening but it was the Germans, who dominated the proceedings and created chances galore.
The Indians played well in patches but it was their defence, which felt the heat of continuous raids from the Germans, who had the better share of chances in the first quarter.
The reigning Olympic champions earned two quick penalty corners inside the opening 10 minutes, the second of which resulted in a penalty stroke for the Germans as the umpire thought the flick struck on rushing S K Uthappa's hand.
The Indians immediately objected and went for the referral which they won. In the final minute of the opening quarter India got a golden chance to take the lead when they earned their first penalty corner of the match but Gurjinder Singh's grounded flick was saved by Nicolas Jacobi in the German goal.
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