Monchengladbach, Apr 16 (UNI) India began their campaign on a disasterous note as they went down 1-4 to host Germany on the opening day of the four-nation Tournament at the Warsteiner Hockey Park here today.
Winger Christopher Zeller struck thrice as World Champion Germany outplayed India. The teams were levelled 1-1 at half time.
Germany, who are testing the September World Cup facilities here, were never stretched by India, who became automatic qualifiers for the World Cup after winning the Asia Cup in 2003.
Zeller, the 22-year-old Munchener forward, scored in the 26th, 37th and 68th minutes, while Sebastian Draghun found the mark in the 44th minute. Tushar Khandekar was the lone scorer for India in the 28th minute.
Germany won two penalty corners in the first 10 minutes but Indian goalkeeper Bharat Chetri was the stumbling block.
The hosts broke the deadlock when Emmerling set up an unmarked Zeller, who fired home to Chetri's right (1-0).
India equalised within four minutes when midfielder Ajmer Singh, making his debut, passed to Khandekar in the circle. The left winger beat German custodian Bubolz with a neat deflection (1-1).
After the crossover, Germany put on the accelarator, thus controlling the game end to end, permitting India only two entries into their srtiking circle. However, to India's dismay, both skipper Gagan Ajit Singh and Rajpal Singh could not provide the desired finish.
The Germans increased their lead shortly after the break when Zeller deftly pushed past Chetri after swiftly side stepping Dilip Tirkey and Sandeep Singh (2-1).
Draghun made the issue relatively safe for the hosts finding the target seven minutes later after latching to an Emmerling crosspass (3-1).
Zeller, Germany's leading scorer at the Chennai Champions Trophy last December, rounded off the tally two minutes before close after a blitz of three successive penalty corners were aborted (4-1).
India will play European champions Spain in their next match, while Germany will clash with Pan-American winners Argentina.
In an earlier game today Spain got the better of Argentina when Ramon Alegre scored the only goal from a penalty corner in the 42nd minute.
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