A lacklustre India relied on a 69th minute goal by forward Gagan Ajit Singh to rekindle their hopes of breaking the Champions Trophy jinx with a hard fought 3-2 victory over Germany in the six-nation hockey tournament here today. Required to put their best foot forward after the agonising 3-4 defeat against Holland yesterday, the Indians were a pale shadow of themselves today and were lucky to record their first victory in a match which seldom rose to great heights. Live wire Gagan Ajit Singh struck the match winner barely a minute before the hooter to save the day for the Indians who appeared to be totally clueless against a second string German side who were undeterred by India's reputation as a hockey powerhouse.
The shocking loss against the hosts Holland yesterday seemed to haunt the Indians as they failed to find any momentum in the opening session with most of their goal-bound moves lacking sting. The Germans dominated for most part of the contest as the Indians played with little purpose or imagination. Trailing by a solitary goal scored by Benedikt Sperling at the half-time the Indians restored parity early in the second session through Gagan Ajit but the unfancied Germans took the lead again when Alexander Sahmel converted a penalty stroke in the 46th minute. The Indian shoulders seemed to droop at this point and a defeat loomed large much like the clouds overhead. However, to their credit, they persisted with their attacking game, and eventually with nine minutes remaining, Prabhjot Singh scored after Baljit Singh Dhillon let fly from the top of the circle following a fast move on the left and the smiles were back on Indian faces. (PTI)