|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
India held by Belgium in opener
March 03, 2004 00:19 IST
India's quest for a berth in the men's Olympic hockey tournament in Athens suffered a setback when they were held 1-1 by Belgium in their opening match of the qualifying tournament in Madrid on Tuesday.
As always, the Indians paid the price for poor finishing. They had chances galore but their forwards ran out of ideas inside the Belgian circle.
They forced as many as eight penalty-corners but could score only once from their second last one in the 62nd minute when Len Aiyappa's drag-flick found the roof of the Belgium cage.
But their joy was shortlived as Charles Vandeweghe caught the defence napping. The centre forward did well to finish off on a quick one-two counter attack down the middle and restore parity for Belgium five minutes from the end.
India pressed hard in the last five minutes for a winner but failed to score. A minute from time Belgium keeper Degreve did well to save Aiyappa's flick from their last penalty-corner.
Spain trounce Japan 6-1
Hosts Spain had a good start, whipping Japan 6-1 in Pool A,
Striker Pol Amat starred in the Spanish success with a three-goal blitz (22nd, 34th, 67th minutes) while Alex Fabregas (25th), Santiago Freixa (57th) and Xavier Ribas (65th) chipped in with a goal each.
Ryuji Furusato brought some cheer to the Japanse camp, scoring in the 32nd minute.
The Spaniards, runners-up to Holland in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, proved too good for the hapless Japanese, who simply buckled under pressure.