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India rally to hold South Africa
March 09, 2005 21:00 IST
India rallied twice from the jaws of defeat to hold South Africa 4-4 in the four-nation junior hockey tournament in Lahore on Wednesday.
India drew first blood in the fourth minute when Birendar Lakra scored off Hari Prasad's pass.
Austin Smith restored parity for South Africa in the 17th minute from an indirect penalty-corner drill and Matthew McConkey made it 2-1 seven minutes later when he found the net from a penalty-corner rebound.
After the change of ends, South Africa, who were leading 2-1, extended their scored to 3-1 in the 43rd minute when Pierre Geldenbuy's angular shot sounded the board.
Five minutes later, India scored twice in as many minutes to level the game 3-all.
Sardar Singh scored off a feeble push from their first penalty-corner in the 47th minute and in the next minute Lakra scored his second goal from an indirect try following the second and last penalty-corner the Indians forced.
In the 58th minute, South Africa regained their lead to go 4-3 up through McConkey, who did not miss an opportunity to tap the ball into an empty goal. But India drew level again through Hari Prasad in 61st minute.
Both the teams finished the match with 10-men each as Lungile Tsolekile and Nitin Kumar were given marching orders just three minutes before the hooter for physical contact.
"I think we are improving with every match. We are without six frontline players who have missed this competition because of exams, but that's no excuse. They require education to make a nice living as hockey doesn't give you what cricket or tennis can give," India's coach Harendra Singh said at the post-match conference.
The last round of league matches will be played on Thursday while the semi-finals will be contested on Saturday and the final on Sunday.
On Thursday, Pakistan take on South Africa followed by an India-Japan encounter.
After Wednesday's match, Pakistan have two wins from two games while South Africa have two draws from as many matches.
India lost one and drew one match while Japan also lost one and drew one.
"The format of the competition is such that we were in the semifinals even before we had arrived in Lahore. But we will try to win tomorrow and finish second in the table," coach Harendra Singh said.