We could have done better than scoring three goals, says India’s hockey coach Roelant Oltmans


India’s 3-3 draw in the Champions Trophy hockey opener with Olympic champions Germany has not impressed coach Roelant Oltmans, who feels his boys could have performed much better.

“We created some good chances, but did not capitalise on all of them. We could have done better than scoring three goals,” Oltmans said after India conceded a goal three minutes from the hooter to let Germany avert the blushes.

“Our performance was okay, but I’m not fully impressed. We’ll have to put up a much better show in the matches to follow,” Oltmans said after the match last night.

A penalty stroke conversion by Jonas Gomoll in the 57th minute shattered India’s hopes of earning three points from the first outing, but they had to be content with one point.

From the moment V R Raghunath converted the first Indian penalty corner in the sixth minute, India had enjoyed the lead throughout, except for one minute when Germany equalised in the first quarter.

Goals from Mandeep Singh (26th minute) and Harmanpreet Singh (32nd) gave India a 3-1 lead, but Germany forced a series of penalty corners against a shaky Indian defence.

Two penalty corner conversions by Tom Grambusch in the 25th and 36th minute kept the young German side in the contest before Gomoll’s penalty stroke restored parity.

“Leading 3-1 in the third quarter, we had a few chances that could have resulted in our fourth goal. But you have to capitalise on the chances,” said Oltmans.

“I would think it was a fair result in the end. We could have won 4-3 or lost by the same margin,” he said.
Oltmans said everyone was aware of Germany’s ability to stage a late comeback, but India too had their opening to boost the scoreline.

“We had a good chance to make it 4-1, but we did not take it. Germany managed to come back when we were down to 10 players on the pitch. It was 11 versus 10 in Germany’s favour and they made full use of it,” said the India coach.

Danish Mujtaba’s green card left India one down and opened the space for Germany’s strikers to exert pressure on India.

“The boys should learn a lot from this match. What’s important is that the boys should perform in tough match conditions,” Oltmans said.

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