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September 23, 2000
Play of the day: Tirkey's opportunism
Dilip Tirkey's opportunism, when he stepped up to slam the rebound into the cage in the last minute of the first session against Spain, turned the match India's way. It surely was the play of the day, even though India could not breathe easy until the end.
Tirkey displayed a rare trait for an Indian penalty-corner hitter when he charged two steps forward and sliced the shot to the right of goalkeeper Ramon Jufresa. Not only did that give India the lead, which they never conceded, but also lifted the spirits despite a gallant Spanish charge that had in the Indian defence in jitters.
Baljit Dhillon's scoop into the citadel also had a morale-boosting effect on the Indian team and its vociferous supporters, but it was Tirkey's conversion of India's first penalty-corner that set the tone for the day.
Spanish striker Joseph Sanchez's breathtaking goal, which reduced the lead to 2-3 was perhaps as electrifying but had lesser impact on the result. In terms of sheer beauty it would beat any penalty-corner strike and many field goals as well.
Nothing less than nine out of 10 for that Tirkey goal, the most confident display on penalty-corner executions for the Indians. Dhillon's drag-flick, which got him his second goal of the match, would perhaps get eight on 10.
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