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India rally to down Pakistan
December 11, 2005 21:20 IST
A stunning late resurgence saw India shock Pakistan 3-2 in a heart-stopping Champions Trophy hockey encounter between the arch-rivals the Radhakrishna Stadium in Chennai on Sunday.
It was a brace by young drag-flicker Sandeep Singh in the dying minutes that earned the Indians, who have never won the elite six-nation contest, a memorable win over the in-form Pakistanis.
In an earlier match, Olympic champions Australia scored a 4-2 win over reigning champions Spain.
After forging ahead through a fifth minute goal by Travis Brooks, the Aussies trailed 1-2 in the first half. However, they recovered well in the second session and pumped in three goals in a span of 22 minutes to record their second successive win in the tournament.
A brace by Santi Freixa (12th and 26th minute) helped Spain gain a 2-1 lead at half-time, before the Aussies cut loose midway in the second half to douse the hopes of the Spaniards.
After Brent Livermore converted a penalty stroke in the 44th minute, Luke Doerner scored off a penalty-corner two minutes later to make it 3-2 and Michael McCann completed the tally in the 66th minute with a spectacular goal (4-2).
Down 0-2 at one stage, India fought back nicely to pump in three goals in the last 10 minutes of the match to earn three crucial points and keep alive their hopes of a finish in the medal bracket.
Young striker Tushar Khandekar scored the first goal for India in the 60th minute. Then followed two power-packed drag-flicks by Sandeep Singh, in the 61st and 66th minutes, which flattened Pakistan, who were leading by two goals, scored off the sticks of Mohammed Imran (53rd min) and Tariq Aziz (57th min).
The hosts were a completely different side after their lacklustre performance on Saturday.
Right from the start, they went on the offensive and succeeded in creating several chances.
The fact that they were able to earn four penalty-corners in the first six minutes of the game speaks enough of the Indians' mode of attack.
However, in the first half, the hosts squandered away many a chance of scoring, including five penalty-corners and three field goal chances. Especially, the failure of Vikram Pillay and Khandekar to hit into an open goal were the noticeable misses.