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Pakistan foil India's bid for bronze
Ivan Crasto |
August 24, 2003 17:09 IST
Last Updated: August 24, 2003 22:13 IST
History, it is said, repeats itself. In fact, it did at the Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen, near Amsterdam, today, as India went down fighting 3-4 to Pakistan in the bronze medal playoff in the 25th Champions Trophy.
At the 24th Champions Trophy in Cologne, Germany, India had beaten their arch rivals in the league phase only to lose to them in the bronze medal playoff, ironically by the same scoreline.
Today, Pakistan struck twice in a spell of seven minutes from the end to avenge the defeat they had suffered in Friday's league match and finish third in the six-nation event.
After Friday's fireworks, when India rallied from a 2-4 deficit to score a 7-4 victory and revive their sagging fortunes, a sellout crowd of 9,500 turned up for the match. And they got their money's worth as the Asian giants battled it out more for pride than third place. Oriental artistry was at its best as the ball swung from end to end in a fast-paced match. India had the lion's share of the exchanges in the first half, during which period they should have been at least four goals to the good, but slackened in the second to let slip the 2-1 advantage they had established at half-time.
The Pakistanis enjoyed early ascendancy and came by two good chances. The first was in the 11th minute when Kashif Jawad hit wide from close after Mudassar Ali's shot was saved by Indian goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan. The next was in the 13th minute, from their first penalty corner, but Chauhan did well to save Sohail Abbas's flick.
That was the best period for the three-time champions in the first half. Thereafter the Indians controlled the midfield and dictated terms.
India forged ahead in the 26th minute from a penalty stroke, which was awarded after Gagan Ajit Singh's stick was hooked as he advanced to score. Jugraj Singh coolly flicked home.
But Pakistan restored parity three minutes later when they broke through against the run of play. Jugraj Singh deliberately hit the ball out at the expense of a penalty corner. But this time Sohail Abbas flicked hard and true and Chauhan had no answer.
India regained the lead with seconds to go for the breather when Gagan Ajit made a menacing run into the Pakistan circle and reverse hit for Prabhjot Singh to deflect home.
A goal down, Pakistan came back in the second session looking more purposeful and brought down the Indian goal within six minutes. From their third penalty corner Sohail Abbas's flick hit the crosspiece. Off the rebound, an unmarked Kashif Jawad hit a reverse stroke to restore parity.
But much against the run of play India regained the lead. Bimal Lakra hit a long ball into the Pakistani 25 yard line for Baljit Singh Dhillon, who advanced into the circle and put Deepak Thakur in possession. The last-named slammed past Pakistan goalkeeper Ahmad Alam in a flash.
Immediately after, India had a chance to increase the tally, but Alam did well to save a stiff shot from Prabhjot Singh.
In the 61st minute, Pakistan forced their 10th penalty corner and Abbas scored again to level the score 3-3 and take his tally in the tournament to nine goals.
That goal spurred the Pakistanis and they launched a series of threatening raids in the Indian half. And, with just over two minutes to go for the hooter, they were rewarded. A lapse by Kanwalpreet Singh allowed Shabbir Hussain to gain possession and lay a long diagonal into the Indian circle, where Rehan Butt displayed fine opportunism to trap and despatch past a hapless Chauhan.
Within a few seconds, Pakistan were reduced to 10 men as Salim Khalid was sent off for a rough tackle, but the Indians, hard as they tried, failed to make good the advantage in numbers.