German tam celebrating victory | Photo: Reuters
Tokyo: The Indian women's hockey team fought valiantly but poor execution proved to be its undoing, leading to a 0-2 defeat at the hands of Germany, a second consecutive setback for the side at the Tokyo Olympics here on Monday.
After the 1-5 drubbing at the hands of world no.1 Netherlands, the Indians lifted their game but it was not enough to get past world no.3 and Rio Games bronze-medallists Germany in their second Pool A match at the Oi Hockey Stadium.
The team was guilty of wasting a lot of opportunities, including a penalty stroke by Gurjit Kaur in the third quarter while luck also didn't favour the Rani Rampal-led side.
Skipper Nike Lorenz (12th minute) and Anna Schroder (35th) were the goal scorers for Germany, who registered their second win on the trot having beaten Great Britain 2-1 in their first match.
Indian will play Great Britain in their next pool match on Wednesday.
The Germans started on a bright note and had most of the possession early on but India slowly and steadily made their presence felt in the match.
Germany had the first shot at the goal but India goalkeeper Savita was at the right place to deny Franzisca Hauke in the ninth minute.
But three minutes later the Germans were not to be stopped as skipper Nike Lorenz flicked the ball past Savita from their first penalty corner.
The Germans were more aggressive in the first half and got another penalty corner in the 21st minute but India this time defended stoutly.
The Rani Rampal-led side upped its game by a notch compared to the first game against Netherlands and penetrated the German circle on a quite a few occasions.
But what let them down was finishing and a brave and strong German defence as India went into half time trailing by a goal.
The Indians came out with purpose after the change of ends and looked threatening, mounting attacks as the Germans got busy in defending their citadel.
Vanadana Katariya had an excellent game as she created numerous chances for her side but the forward-line erred in the final touch.
Two minutes into the third quarter, it was Vandana who helped India secure its first penalty corner of the Games. Skipper Rani stepped up and her goalmouth strike hit the body of a German defender.
India straight sought referral for a penalty stroke and duly got one but Gurjit failed to find the back of the net as her effort struck the side post.
The Germans punished India three minutes later when Schroder scored with a fierce hit from top right corner of the circle to double her side's lead.
The Indians didn't lose hope and continued their attacking play but they failed to penetrate the German defence.
On two occasions, Vandana came close to scoring -- first she was denied by the German keeper from a one-on-one situation with a brilliant save and then her deflection from Navneet Kaur's pass hit the top of the post in the 46th minute.
The Germans secured another penalty corner soon but faltered in execution.
Thereafter, the Germans mostly tried to keep the possession, denying India any inroads. PTI