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China stun India in men's hockey
December 06, 2006 09:37 IST
Disaster struck a disjointed India as they crashed to a humiliating 2-3 defeat to lowly China in a Pool 'B' league match of the men's hockey competition in the Asian Games in Doha on Tuesday evening.
It was a disaster waiting to happen. The Indians earned eight penalty-corners but could convert only one while the Chinese got one and converted what turned out to be the match- winner.
India paid the price for their incoherent and inconsistent play.
Their was no game plan, no sense of urgency and no clear cut strategy. It looked as if they just trooped in to try their luck against their unfancied opponents who, unfortunately, turned tables on them.
With a loose and uncoordinated half line, a forward line looking tired and lethargic and tentative defence, India were lucky to have lost by a one-goal margin.
It may be sheer coincidence that China had beaten India 3-1 in the women's tournament earlier.
The defeat leaves a big question mark on the future of Indian hockey as it may not even qualify for the Olympics. The first two teams at the Asian Games will make it to the Beijing Olympics and others will have to go through the qualification round.
On the other hand, it was a red letter day for China; they scored their first ever win over the eight-time Olympic Champions and much credit goes to their coach former South Korea captain King Sang Ryul.
Ryul was the captain of the Korean team which beat Indian in the final of the 1994 Hiroshima Games.
For the Chinese, who led 2-1 at half-time, the goal scorers were Hu Liang (13th minute), Liu Xiantang (20th) and Song Yi (59th).
Rajpal Singh (35th) and V Raghunath ( 61st) scored for the losers.
The Chinese coach knew India's weaknesses and he fully exploited them. His team played a defensive game and did not allow the Indians any space. The Indian midfield was pitiful. They just had no clue of what was happening and less said the better about the forwards. Tejbir was a passenger and Hari Prasad and Shivendra Singh would like to forget this nightmarish tie.
The Chinese sounded the danger bugle in the 13th minute through Hu Liang who surprised the Indian defenders as he made full use of the defensive lapse to shoot home the first goal.
Seven minutes later Liu Xiantang made it 2-0.
In fact these were the only two clear chances the Chinese got and they converted them into goals.
India tried hard for the equaliser but the crowded defence gave them no chance.
Still, a minute before the breather, Rajpal Singh struck to raise hopes of Indian fight back. But the superbly physically-fit Chinese kept looking for swift counter attacks and turnarounds and they forced their only penalty corner in the 59th minute and skipper Song Yi, with a powerful drag flick, scored to make it 3-1.
India forced another penalty-corner in the 61st minute and this time V Raghunath scooped the ball home to make it 2-3.
For the next nine minutes, the Chinese raised a Great Wall around their defence and Indians could do nothing about it.
The Chinese, for once, were deserving winners as much the Indians deserved to lose.UNI