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Pakistan trounce India
June 29, 2004 20:00 IST
Last Updated: June 29, 2004 20:44 IST
Pakistan toyed with a hapless Indian defence to inflict a humiliating 6-1 defeat on their arch-rivals in a crucial league match of the four-nation Rabobank hockey tournament in Amsterdam on Tuesday.
The huge loss virtually killed India's hopes of playing in the final of the tournament which also features Germany and Holland.
The one-sided contest, which India needed to win to keep alive their hopes for a berth in the final, saw Pakistan scoring three goals in each halves.
This was India's second loss in as many matches in the tournament following their 2-0 defeat against Holland on Sunday.
In the match today, if Pakistan played a disciplined game, the Indians were culprit of a sloppy show. They often struggled for ball possession and hardly made any organised moves during the entire duration of the match. Their lone goal by Thakur also appeared to be a fluke.
The Indians rarely posed any threat to the opposition post with most of the forwards including veteran Dhanraj Pillay failing to match their counterparts in speed and ball control.
The Pakistanis, on the other hand, played purposefully with some incisive moves from both the flanks, creating a lot of problems for the Indian defenders.
A shoddy display by the Indians in the first half saw them concede three goals, mainly due to some poor defence work particularly by Kanwalpreet Singh.
While the Pakistanis enjoyed an upper hand executing some perfect passes and ball trappings, their counterparts suffered due to some unimaginative game plan. The Indians failed to make even a single coordinated move in the first half an hour of play.
The eight-time Olympic winners started the high-profile game with two of their most senior players -- Dhanraj Pillay and Baljit Singh -- but both failed to rise to the occasion that did no good to the side's cause.
The goof-ups in the Indian deep defence helped Pakistan strike thrice to take complete control of the match in the first half itself even though India reduced the margin with an opportunistic goal in the 32nd minute through Thakur.
A mid-field error by Vikram Pillay as early as in the seventh minute was followed by a long run by Kashif Jawwad whose cross from the right flank was hit home by Shakeel Abbasi after Kanwalpreet made a mess with the clearance.
Pakistan had to wait till the 28th minute to extend their lead when Sohail Abbas slammed home from the only penalty corner that the side got in the first half.
Even though Thakur's goal raised hopes of an Indian fightback, Pakistan dealt a major blow when Shabbir Hussain gave his team a 3-1 lead just before the half-time hooter.
Following a lacklustre first half display, India replaced Devesh Chauhan in goal with young Adrian D'Souza, but the move made no change to their fate as Pakistan scored three more goals to emerge victorious.
Sohail scored his second goal from another penalty corner in the 43rd minute and eight minutes later Jawwad made it 5-1 before Nadeem's goal six minutes from the end sealed the fate of the Indians.
India now have only a very remote chance of qualifying for the final.
They play their last league match against Germany on Thursday.