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Sohail Abbas flattens India
January 09, 2004 15:42 IST
Last Updated: January 09, 2004 16:09 IST
Sohail Abbas's fine hat-trick gave defending champions Pakistan a 3-2 victory over India in the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
The drag flick ace scored thrice from penalty-corners in the 13th, 27th and 51st minutes to give Pakistan their second straight victory from as many matches in the tournament.
India, who were beaten by Germany in their opening match on Thursday, suffered their second defeat.
India scored from field goals through Baljit Singh Dhillon in the 15th minute and Rajpal Singh, in the 18th.
The victory enabled Pakistan end their losing streak against India, who had won the last two meetings between the teams -- in the final of the Asia Cup and Afro-Asian Games. It was, in fact, Pakistan's first victory in four matches against India in recent times.
Pakistan, however, will have little to cheer about as India are playing the tournament with several young and inexperienced players. They failed to score even a single field goal though they made numerous inroads into the circle and exposed the chinks in the Indian defence. Lack of coordination and some poor finishing undid the good work by their forwards.
Veteran Abbas's exploits saved Pakistan the blushes as India, at one stage, were up a goal.
Abbas gave Pakistan the lead in the 13th minute but India bounced back with goals from Baljit Singh Dhillon (15th) and rookie Rajpal Singh (18th).
But the drag flick ace made full use of the penalty-corners his side got, scoring twice again in the 27th and 51st minutes from Pakistan's fourth and seventh pebnalty-corners to seal the fate of a struggling Indian team.
Pakistan, who beat South Korea on Thursday, have six points from two outings.
Pakistan dominated the proceedings from the hit off even though the Indians tested the opposition defence with attacks and counter attacks in between. They took the lead in the 13th minute when Abbas scored off the team's second penalty-corner, awarded after Kashif Jawaad was obstructed inside the Indian circle.
Abbas's searing drag-flick to the top left corner hardly gave Indian goalkeeper Kamaldeep Singh any time to react.
The Indians forwards, who appeared patchy in their approach throughout the match, were lucky to score the goals, which were largely possible due to poor clearances by the Pakistani defence.
Captain Dhanraj Pillay, after getting a pass from Sandeep Michael, hit hard at the opposition post, but it deflected off young goalkeeper Salman Akbar's body. The defenders failed to clear the ball in time as Dhillon, who was standing on the left side of the post, put the ball into an open goal.
Rajpal's second goal was more of a fluke, as Ignace Tirkey's cross from the left was not trapped cleanly by Adnan Maqsood inside the circle. The ball landed in front of the Indian, who slammed home much to the delight of the handful of supporters at the ground.
But Pakistan hardly allowed anything to the Indians after that as they held possession. They forced as many as seven penalty-corners as against one by the Indians.