The PR Sreejesh-led Indian men's hockey team hammered hosts Germany 6-1 to begin its campaign in rousing fashion in the four-nation Europe tour on Sunday.
21-year-old Vivek Sagar Prasad netted a brace (27', 28') to power India to a crucial win in their first international match in 12 months. Nilakanta Sharma (13'), Lalit Kumar Upadhyay (41'), Akashdeep Singh (42'), and Harmanpreet Singh (47') were the other goal-getters for India.
The Indian forwards showcased top form, puncturing the German defense time and again. The match eventually became a one-sided affair as the Indian men's hockey team demonstrated different variations to score goals.
Indian men's hockey team played its first match since the FIH Pro League in March last year
A lethal charge in the attack right from the beginning saw the Indian men's hockey team win a penalty corner in the 13th minute of the match. India's first goal came within the first fifteen minutes of the first quarter with former Junior World Cup-winning midfielder Nilakanta Sharma scoring off a penalty corner. Germany, however, responded well and equalized 1-1 in the next minute.
The hosts stepped up in the second quarter and earned two consecutive penalty corners in the initial few minutes. But a couple of brilliant saves helped India maintain their stranglehold over the Germans.
Despite conceding the equalizer, India staged a quick comeback into the game. Young Vivek Sagar Prasad singlehandedly put his team ahead with two consecutive goals in the 27th and 28th minute.
Germany were in no mood to step back and won a total of six penalty corners in the third quarter. But goalkeeper Sreejesh bailed his team out of trouble on all occasions with some excellent saves.
Back-to-back goals by Lalit Kumar Upadhyay and Akashdeep Singh increased the lead further for the Indian men's hockey team. The visitors were ahead by a whopping margin of 5-1 at the end of the third quarter.
Harmanpreet Singh then sped past the hosts and slotted in the winner in the 47th minute with a brilliant drag-flick, helping India finish with a huge 6-1 victory.
Though the German attack appeared to resist on a few occasions, it was barely enough to stop the march of the Indian men's hockey team. The two teams will lock horns next on Tuesday, March 2nd.
Indian men's hockey team has qualified for Tokyo Olympics
The Indian men's hockey team has already booked its ticket to Tokyo after pinning down Russia 11-3 on aggregate in the two-legged FIH Qualifiers in 2019. India prevailed over Russia 4-2 in the first leg and won the second leg by 7-1.