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Hockey: Pakistan beat India 3-1
August 18, 2005 22:53 IST
Suffering further humiliation, India crashed to their third defeat on the trot, losing to arch-rivals Pakistan 3-1 in their last league match of the eight-nation Rabo Trophy hockey tournament in Amstelveen on Thursday.
The win kept Pakistan on course for a chance to qualify for the finals while India, who had lost to Spain and Germany earlier, would now most probably play in the 7-8 play-off.
India came to the match already out of the medal race, but nevertheless were desperate for a win against the traditional-rivals which could have salvaged some pride for the beleaguered team.
First-half goals by Muhammed Saqlain (15th minute) and Imran Muhammed (30th) followed by Shakeel Abbasi's strike (68th) earned the Pakistanis full three points, while India's lone goal came through Didar Singh's effort in the 56th minute.
India finished their league engagement without opening their account, while Pakistan took their points tally to four with one match against Germany still to go. The side had drawn their opening match against Champions Trophy winners Spain.
India had a very impressive beginning, when they dominated their rivals with some fine moves early on and in the process created some good chances.
In the first eight minutes, they earned two penalty corners, but could not take advantage, with Kanwalpreet Singh and captain Dilip Tirkey failing to convert them.
But that was all they could do in the first half as Pakistan regrouped themselves quickly and made some effective counter attacks which saw them winning three set pieces in quick duration.
The Pakistanis wasted the first two penalty corners but struck from third one when captain Saqlain Muhammed scored off the rebound much to the delight of the team's supporters in the stand.
Pakistan, appearing a completely changed side after drawing the first blood, doubled the lead when Imran Muhammed scored in the 30th minute.
India, on the other hand, struggled in almost all the aspect of the game with the forwards, in particular, cutting a sorry picture yet again.
Gagan Ajit Singh, playing his first tournament since the last year's Athens Olympics, had a fine chance to score once for India when he got a free ball inside the Pakistani circle but failed to trap it properly.
Both Prabhjot Singh and Deepak Thakur also played far below their potential, doing no good to India's cause.
India improved their game in the second half, but failed to beat the Pakistani goalkeeper Salman Akbar more than once despite earning three penalty corners during the period.