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India fifth in men's hockey
December 14, 2006 18:49 IST
Last Updated: December 14, 2006 19:47 IST
India handed Malaysia a 4-0 thrashing to finish fifth in the Asian Games men's hockey event in Doha on Thursday.
After being knocked out of medal contention for the first time in Asian Games history, India avoided further embarrassment by putting it across the Malaysians without much difficulty at the Al Rayyan stadium.
Emerging drag-flicker Raghunath pumped in two goals in the 13th and 61st minutes while Rajpal Singh (41st) and Gurbaj Singh (64th) chipped in with a goal apiece.
In a later match, Pakistan beat Japan 4-2 to win the bronze medal and qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games.
The Indians turned on the heat from the word go and kept tormenting the Malaysian defenders with fast counter-attacks and could have won by a much bigger margin had they not frittered away some of the scoring opportunities.
Adopting an offensive strategy, the Indians fired the first salvo when Raghunath, whose drag-flicks have started paying dividends, converting a penalty-corner.
The Indians attacked relentlessly but could not add any more goals in the opening session, which also saw the Malaysians initiate a few moves but without success.
Captain Dilip Tirkey was happy with the performance of his team in the last game.
"The team played well. The defence was good, especially our goalkeeper, who saved three penalty-corners from Malaysia. Raghunath also played well," Tirkey said.
Raghunath said the team had set a target for the classification match.
"We had a target for this game. We had to prove that we are a team that could play in the finals. It was a good game for us," he said.
"We have to work on our mental toughness to be match strong at the highest level. The first ten minutes against China cost us," he added.
Doha Asian Games 2006: The Complete Coverage