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India too good for Egypt
October 23, 2003 21:56 IST
Last Updated: October 23, 2003 22:37 IST
India began its campaign in the men's hockey tournament at the Afro Asian Games with a fluent 5-1 victory over Africa champions Egypt, in Hyderabad, on Thursday.
Prabhjot Singh (5th, 56th minutes) and Gagan Ajit Singh (44th, 67th) scored two goals each and Deepak Thakur (38th) one in the big victory.
For Egypt, Mohammed Gamal reduced the margin.
In the day's other matches, Pakistan went through several anxious moments before getting past Nigeria 4-3; South Korea routed Ghana 3-0 and Malaysia and All-Africa Games runners-up South Africa played out an entertaining 1-1 draw.
Significantly, it was India's first-ever match under lights at home and the hosts reveled in the conditions.
India, who have come to the tournament without their captain, Dhanraj Pillay, and six other members who figured in the maiden Asia Cup triumph, including Baljit Singh Dhillon and Baljit Singh Saini, played superbly under new captain Dilip Tirkey, who himself came up with a fine display as deep defender.
The victory also gave India the opportunity to serve a warning to the other sides in the fray, particularly Pakistan, who will be baying for the hosts' blood after suffering a humiliating defeat in the Asia Cup final at Malaysia last month.
India messed up all the penalty-corners they got, but compensated for it by slamming home as many as five field goals.
"We failed to utilise the short corners that came our way but nevertheless we are happy to win the match," Tirkey said.
Tirkey, however, issued a warning to India's next opponents, Nigeria, when he said his players would continue to play an attacking game in their next matches.
"We will continue playing this way as it gives us more chances to put pressure on them by adopting an attacking play," he said.