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India stay in medal race
December 10, 2004 14:28 IST
India survived a scare before holding New Zealand to a 1-1 draw in their last league match and stay in contention for a medal finish in the Champions Trophy hockey tournament in Lahore on Friday.
The draw took India's points tally to four from five matches and it was enough for the side to set a clash against arch-rivals Pakistan in the bronze medal match. The final would be played between Holland and Spain, who downed Pakistan 3-0 earlier in the day.
New Zealand, who had upset the Indians at the Athens Olympics, came quite close to send the Indians to play for last two berths but failed to latch on to the chances.
The New Zealanders had in fact taken the lead through Darren Smith in the 57th minute before India equalised when Arjun Halappa converted a controversially given penalty stroke five minutes later.
India started the match on an aggressive note and swamped the opposition in the first quarter.
They came close to scoring on a few occasions but were denied each time by NZ goalkeeper Paul Woolford, who had a fine outing.
The Kiwis eventually took control of the proceedings, forcing India to slow their game. But even they failed to penetrate the Indian defence.
The Kiwis got two penalty corners; the first in the 27th minute and the other just before the half time, but they wasted both chances.
India put their opposition under pressure on resumption, after the teams went to the halftime with the scoreline reading 0-0, but they could not made use of a clear of scoring chances.