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Late goal denies India victory
April 23, 2004 12:30 IST
India frittered away the opportunity to record their first victory as they conceded a goal in the dying minutes to be held to a 2-2 draw by Australia in their second match in the four-nation Men's Hockey Challenge in Sydeny on Thursday.
Travis Brooks denied the Indians full points with a goal barely 68 seconds before the hooter as Australia rallied to clinch a point in an absorbing tussle at the Hombush Olympic Park.
The injury-plagued Indians, who had suffered a 0-3 defeat against Malaysia in their opening match on Wednesday, had only themselves to blame for not being able to win the match as
they allowed the fancied hosts to restore parity because of a defensive lapse.
The home team shot into the lead through Jamie Dwyer in the 13th minute but India levelled the scores at the stroke of half-time when Jatinder Pal Singh coverted a penalty-corner.
India then went ahead through Deepak Thakur's field goal in the 61st minute before Brooks drilled one in the last minute.
India coach Rajinder Singh said, "We were not fortunate enough to win the match today. I think the forward line should make score goals. In modern hockey, they should avail the maximum chances that come their way."
Australia has the benefit of changing its players and trying out all players, whereas we have restricted option.
Ace forward Prabhjot Singh did not play due to injury while midfielder Viren Rasquinha, also nursing an injury, played only for a short while.
"But after equalling the match with Australia today, our players are more confident. Young players like Jatinder Pal, Sunil Yadav and Inderjit Chadha have had the exposure and feel confident to play in the Olympics."
In another match, Malaysia beat South Africa 2-1 to record their second consecutive win.
In the final round-robin matches on Saturday, Australia will take on Malaysia while India meet South Africa. The final is slated for Sunday.