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Pakistan beat India; win bronze
Anand Philar | March 13, 2004 21:04 IST
Last Updated: March 13, 2004 22:15 IST
India failed to carry their cricketing success on to the hockey turf as they were beaten 2-4 by Pakistan in the bronze medal play-off in the men's Olympic hockey qualifying tournament at Madrid on Saturday.
It was a disappointing finish to India's campaign in the competition, although they have already qualified for the Athens Games in August.
Goals from Muhammed Shabbir (15th minute), Sohail Abbas (44th), Shakeel Abbasi (55th) and Kashif Jawad (69th) ensured Pakistan's back to back win against India, who had lost the earlier contest between the two teams in the tournament 3-5 last week.
India's goals came from Prabhjot Singh (22nd) and Gagan Ajit Singh (59th).
The loss means India finished fourth in the qualifying tournament behind Pakistan. Netherlands and Spain would be playing in the final later in the day.
Both teams played quite freely and it made for some pleasing moves and counter-moves. But the Indians paid the price for missing several chances.
Indians were clearly the better side in the first 35 minutes, their only blemish being the goal they conceded following a terrible mix-up between Vikram Pillay and Dilip Tirkey. It allowed Muhammad Nadeem to steam in from the left and flick to Shabbir to deflect the ball in.
That apart, the Indians conceded just one penalty corner and here too, first Ignace Tirkey and then Kanwalpreet Singh were alert to avert danger while denying Sohail Abbas a success.
Goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan made a couple of good saves that injected confidence in the deep defenders.
India's midfield play was tight enough to check the Pakistani forwards who on the day struggled to shake off their markers.
At the other end, the Indians should have scored more than just one goal that was a result of a right-wing counter-attack and Prabhjot Singh slamming home a rebound off goalkeeper Salman Akhbar who had blocked Deepak Thakur's attempt.
A little before the goal, umpire Xavier Adell of Spain disallowed a penalty corner conversion by Kanwalpreet for "raised ball" though the hit was directed at the goalkeeper and the ball went in off the pads.
The Indian forwards took a couple of more close looks at the Pakistani goal, but further success eluded them due to wayward hitting, but overall, it was a satisfactory first-half for India.
However, Sohail Abbas, who had scored four goals when the teams last met, came good with the second penalty corner in the 43rd to put Pakistan 2-1 in the lead, and soon after, Abbasi capped a glorious counter-attack down the middle, putting home a Jawad pass.
The Indians hit back in the 59th minute as Gagan Ajit made some amends for his costly misses earlier by slamming the board after a pass from Len Aiyappa.
It was little consolation for the striker as he twice failed to score from one-on-one situations inside the circle.
With time running out, the Indians threw all their players into the attack leaving themselves open for counter-attack.
A minute from close, Pakistan did just that with Jawad scoring from zero angle after drawing out Chauhan.