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India crash out of medal race
August 16, 2005 18:01 IST
Last Updated: August 16, 2005 21:43 IST
India were dumped out of the medal race by world champions Germany who scored a clinical 2-1 win in a crucial league match of the eight-nation Rabo Trophy hockey tournament in Amstelveen on Tuesday.
The second successive defeat of India, who had lost their opener to Spain 1-0, meant they would now play for the classification matches for the 5-8 places in this prestigious championship. India are slated to play their last league game against arch-rivals Pakistan on Thursday.
In another match, Olympic champions Australia demolished Asiad gold medallists South Korea 7-1.
Germany, who led 1-0 at the breather, scored through Mitthias Witthaus (4th) and Niklas Meinert (48th) while Kanwalpreet Singh scored for India in the 41st minute.
Indian captain Dilip Tirkey, who has clearly looked under pressure in the tournament so far, failed to trap the ball and sharp shooter Watthaus' angled shot from a half volley landed high in the Indian net.
The early goal proved to be a wake-up call for the Indian strikers who tried hard to regroup for the equaliser but mistrappings and poor interceptions once again proved to be their bane.
The Germans could have gone 2-0 up in the 18th minute but the goal was disallowed since the ball came off the stick of Bimal Lakra.
The Germans earned their first penalty corner 10 minutes from the half time but the Indian defence managed to thwart the fleet-footed rivals this time to ensure they went into the break trailing by just one goal.
The second half was marked by some real shoddy display by the Indian forwards with right-winger Prabhjot Singh, star striker Gagan Ajit Singh and Deepak Thakur guilty of missing several gilt-edged chances.
The Germans, however, were not be reined in as they scored their second goal seven minutes later after forcing their second penalty corner. Meinert gently pushed in the ball from right to seal the fate for India.
Coming into the match after a 1-0 defeat against Spain in their opener, India needed to pull off a win against the European powerhouse to remain in contention for a top place finish, but the usual story of chances going abegging meant another disappointment for the men in blue.
But credit must also be given to the German defence, especially their talented goalkeeper Christian Schulte who came off with some good saves but in the 41st minute when Kanwalpreet Singh slammed home with a neat shot from a penalty corner to have the score levelled at 1-1.
Australia, who led 4-0 at half time, scored through Grant Schubert (5th and 70th) Michael McCann (18th and 25th), Travis Brooks (22nd), Liam de Young (50th) and Rob Hammond (68th) while Hong Eun Seong got the consolation for Korea in the 64th minute.
The Koreans, fresh from their big triumph over England in the opening match of the tournament on Sunday, found the men from Down Under too hot to handle as they caved in to their rivals continuous sorties and superb off the ball runs.
Aussie strikers McCann, Jamie Dwyer, Brent Livermore and Grant Schubert moved up in tandem, propelled by their midfielders, to wreak havoc in the rival defence.
At the other end, their goalkeeper Stephen Mowlam was outstanding under the bar as he foiled all the Korean attacks in the second half with great confidence.
Scores: Germany 2 (Mitthias Witthaus 4th min, Niklas Meinert 48th min) beat India 1 (Kanwalpreet Singh 41st); Australia 7 (Grant Schubert 5th min, 69th min, Michael McCann 18th min, 25th min, Travis Brooks 22nd min, Liam de Young 50th min, Rob Hammond 68th min) beat South Korea 1 (Eun Seong Hong, 64th min).