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India go down to Australia
May 29, 2003 22:38 IST
Australia scored once in each half through Tristram Woodhouse to get the better of India 2-0 in the three-nation Hockey Australia Men's Challenge in Perth on Thursday.
India, who had beaten Australia 'A' 2-0 in their opening match of the tournament yesterday, were caught napping at crucial moments.
Woodhouse put the Aussies ahead in the third minute before consolidating on the lead in the 44th.
It was Australia's second straight victory, having beaten Pakistan 3-0 yesterday.
India take on Pakistan in their last league match on Saturday. The winner of that match will play Australia in the final.
In the other match on Thursday, Australia beat Pakistan 5-3, after leading 4-2 at half-time.
Andrew Smith (12th minute penalty-corner), Adam Commens (14th), Steven Boyce (18th minute penalty-corner) and Lucas Judge (33rd, 60th) were the scorers while Ghazanfar Ali (15th and 29th minutes penalty-corners) and Shakeel Abbasi (66th) accounted for Pakistan's goals.
India paid the price for two defensive lapses. The defence, which performed admirably to prevent the Aussie forwards from having a good look at goal, was caught napping on two occasions and the Aussies were quick to pounce on both opportunities to score.
Australia went ahead through a goal the Indians disputed. They claimed that the ball had gone over the sidelines before Woodhouse worked his way in the circle and scored off a rebound off goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan's pads.
As Australia dictated terms and controlled the midfield with clever promptings from Troy Elder the Indians were unable to string together good moves and relied mainly on counter attacks, in which Gagan Ajit Singh and Prabhjot Singh looked a dangerous. And when the Indian forwards found space in the Aussie circle they found goalkeeper Mark Hickman a tough nut to crack.
Australia increased their lead in nine minutes into the second session as Brent Livermore, who was introduced in midfield after half-time, laid a precise pass for Woodhouse to score. In this instance the Indian defenders were guilty of ball-watching as Woodhouse flicked past the Indian goalkeeper.
For the remainder of the half, the Indians threw everything into attack but Hickman and some stout defending prevented them from scoring.
Indian coach Rajinder Singh said "defensive goof-ups" cost his side the match.
"We were put under pressure tight from the beginning. However, we regrouped well and settled down as the match progressed. But those two defensive lapses proved costly for us today.
"We also failed to convert some opportunities that came our way," he said.
Talking about the next match against arch-rivals Pakistan, Rajinder said there will be no change in tactics.
"We will be playing an attacking game despite the goof-ups in defence today, as offence is the best form of defence," he said.
He promised an entertaining match, saying, India and Pakistan matches always have a different charm.
"The conditions will be different on Saturday. There will be a lot of excitement both on and off the field."