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India disappoint in opener
December 10, 2005 21:26 IST
Last Updated: December 10, 2005 21:45 IST
India started their campaign in the 27th Champions Trophy Hockey tournament on a disappointing note, going down 1-2 to reigning champions Spain in their first match at the flood-lit Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium in Chennai on Saturday.
In a evenly-contested match, which came alive in the second half, the home team did well to come back from a one-goal deficit. But a penalty stroke conversion midway in the second half turned the tables in favour of the Spanish team.
Eduard Tubau lead the Spanish attack with an opportunistic goal in the 20th minute before India equalized in the 31st minute when Kanwalpreet singh sounded the board off a penalty corner. In the second session, Spain went up 2-1 when Amat Pablo converted a penalty stroke, which eventually proved to be the match winner.
The Indians made some good moves in the second half and fought till the last minute, but poor finishing cost them dearly.
It took a while for the Indians to get into the groove as it was the reigning champions who held the initial whip. Sandeep and Vikram in the defence were well assisted by Vinay and Viren Rasquinha and did a commendable job to keep the Spanish forwards at bay.
In fact it was India which had a first shy at the goal when Gagan Ajit Singh hit straight to Spanish custodian Herrera Bernardino before Enrich Andreu cleared it to safety. This came a minute after Prabhjot hit the ball wide off a pass from Vikram Pillai. much to the chagrin of the Indian supporters.
As Indians started mounting pressure, the best opportunity came in the 16tth minute when Gagan, the fulcrum of the Indian attack, moved into the circle from the far right, only to see his reverse flick going high and wide off the target.
Much against the run of play, the breakthrough for the Spanish came in the 20th minute when striker Eduard Tubau showed enough alacrity to tap the ball home. A powerful shot by David Algere, who once shot wide from a close range, saw Indian custodian Adrian D'Souza effecting a fine save. As the ball rolled, Tubau, who was unmarked, tapped the ball home.
Earlier in the day, Olympic champions Australia gave an awesome display of fire power to open their campaign with a facile win routing world champions Germany 4-1 in the tournament opener.
For the winners, who led 2-0 at the breather, Jamie Dwyer (14th,37th), Nathan Eglington (30th), BlurtLivermore (59th) were the goal getters. Christopher Zeller reduced the margin for the losers.
Australia went into attacking mode with their midfield spearheaded by Brent Livermore combining lethally with winger Jamie Dwyer, who put the side ahead with a superb goal.
The Aussies increased their lead five minutes before te lemon break with a brilliant solo run on the right flank by Nathan Eglington who caught the rival defence off guard.
Germans, on the other hand, playing without eight of their players who represented the country in the Athens Olympic squad, barely managed to force a move or two.
After missing their first two penalty corners, the Aussies struck again two minutes after the half time when Dwyer deflected the ball in off a shot from Luverke Doerner.
The Aussies struck again in the 59th minute during one of their raids into the German citadel. Travis Brooks running threatening into the striking circle was obstructed by goal keeper Ulrich Bubolz. That resulted in another scoring opportunity for the Aussies as umpire Prasad Raghu pointed to the penalty spot.
Blurt Livermore placed the ball beyond Germany's second goal keeper Christian Schulte, who was brought in just to defend the shot.
The Aussies had an unassailable 4-0 lead. But hereabouts the Germans started attacking desperately. They succeeded after forward Witthhaus Mathias was thwarted taking a pot shot from the left.
But the consolation goal for the Germans came when Christopher Zeller managed to put the ball beyond the strong Aussie defence in a melee before the rival citadel.UNI