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India crumble under early Aussie flourish
December 13, 2005 21:00 IST
India paid the price for defensive lapses early in the match as they went down to 1-4 to Olympic champions Australia in the Champions Trophy hockey tournament in Chennai on Tuesday. All were field goals, scored in the first half.
Even before the crowd could settle into their seats the Aussies struck through Nathan Eglington, who displayed good opportunism following a misunderstanding between the Indian defenders and slotted home.
Dean Butler increased the tally in the 12th minute before Eglington could add another goal to his name a minute later.
The Indians tried to regroup and get into a rhythm but Australia's strong midfield denied them any headway.
And when Travis Brooks made the scoreline 4-0 in the 19th minute the match looked headed for a tennis scoreline.
But Tushar Khandekar pulled a goal back in the 31st minute, scoring after Gagan Ajit made a good run down the right, to check the Aussie juggernaut.
In the second session, the Indians, weakened by the absence of midfielder Viren Rasquinha who was stretchered off following a shoulder injury, came up with an improved display and even had more possession but failed to add another goal despite forcing two penalty-corners. On both occasions goalkeeper Stephen Lambert brought off good saves off low drag-flick from Sandeep Singh.
In an earlier match, seven-time winners The Netherlands withstood a late charge from holders Spain to snatch a thrilling 3-2 victory.
The Dutch were leading 3-0 till the 60th minute before the Spaniards scored twice, in the 61st and 64th minutes.
Spain forced a penalty-corner in the last minute but failed to convert the chance and suffered their second defeat in three matches.
For Netherlands, it was their second win in the elite six-nation tournament.
The Dutch, reduced to 10 players in the last three minutes after a yellow card to Sander Vann Der Weidef, just about averted what would have been a repeat of their match against Germany on Sunday, when they allowed their opponents to force a draw after leading 2-0 till the 60th minute.
Matthijs Brouwer (10th and 54th minutes) and Karel Klaver (56th) scored for the Netherlands while Santi Frexia (60th) and Eduard Tubau (64th) accounted for Spain's goals.
The Netherlands have seven points while Spain have three, gained from their win over India in the opening tie.