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September 19, 2000
Perfect 10 for Mukesh's goal
Jaideep Singh in Sydney
If there was a Perfect 10 in hockey, it would have gone to Mukesh Kumar scintillating 34th-second goal in the match against Australia. There can be no doubt that his goal was one magic moment in the Group B match, by far the best of the Olympic competition thus far.
The goal was the handiwork of Dhanraj Pillay's speed after he latched on to a pass from Baljit Dhillon and created the opening. The through ball he sent for Mukesh may have been wasted by a less-talented player, but Mukesh managed to score from an acute angle after dribbling a few paces to get a firm grip on the ball.
The zero-angle reverse hit surprised the usually composed Australian goalkeeper Lachlan Dreher, who almost had to rub his eyes when he turned around to see the ball inside the goal.
And what celebrations it set off in the stands. The mood among the Indian fans remained upbeat throughout the match with several boys running around with the tricolour.
In terms of beauty, execution and effect on the Indian team's (and fans') morale the goal deserves a perfect 10.
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