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Pakistan humble India
March 18, 2006 12:32 IST
Last Updated: March 18, 2006 15:01 IST
India suffered their first defeat in the men's hockey tournament at the Commonwealth Games on Saturday when they were routed 1-4 by Pakistan.
Earlier, the Indian women's hockey team scored two minutes from the end to snatch a 2-2 draw with South Africa.
After the 1-1 draw with Malaysia in their opening match, a better showing was expected from the Indians, but they flattered to deceive after going a goal up by the 14th minute through Tejbir Singh and holding the lead till the breather.
The Pakistanis proved too good in the second half as they ran roughshod over the hapless Indians, whom they had beaten in the just-concluded six-Test series.
Mudassar Ali Khan restored parity in the 23rd minute before Tariq Aziz put Pakistan ahead in the 38th.
Two goals by Adnan Maqsood in the 41st and 57th minute put India out of the match.
Pakistan earned four penalty-corners and India one, but all were wasted.
The Indians have no excuse to offer. They were simply outplayed in all departments of the game, especially in the second half.
The Pakistani forwards dazzled and played stunning hockey and were unlucky not to have won by a bigger margin.
The 134th encounter between the two teams turned out to be a fiasco for the Indians, whose forward and defence line stood thoroughly exposed.
India started promisingly and dominated the proceedings for the first 15 minutes of the game. Though the Pakistanis earned a penalty-corner in the 10th minute, they failed to score from it.
India took the lead in the 14th minute after Halappa initiated a move from the right and sent a cross to Deepak Thakur, who relayed the ball to Tejbir. The last-named tapped the ball home with a super diving effort (1-0).
But it turned out to be a case of celebrating a bit too early as the Pakistanis came back pounding and within 10 minutes drew parity.
Rehan Butt made a tearing move on the right, beat a host of defenders, and his cross was superbly deflected home by Mudassar Ali.
The Indians forced a penalty-corner soon after, but Sandeep Singh's drag flick was deflected away by a defender.
Then what transpired in the second session turned out to be a nightmare for India.
The Pakistanis simply outplayed and outpaced them. The furious attacks by the green shirts rattled the Indians, whose defence became vulnerable. Suddenly the Pakistanis were lords of the turf, their rivals scurrying for cover.
Three minutes into the second session, yet another defensive error led to Pakistan's second goal.
Mudassar Ali Khan took a wild swipe from outside the striking circle and an Indian defender failed to intercept the ball which went on to strike the post, where an unmarked Tariq Aziz guided it into goal, giving no chance to defender Kanwalpreet or goalkeeper Bharat Chetri.
Prabodh Tirkey was pushed up to help the midfield. But yet another defensive lapse in the 40th minute saw Pakistan taking their tally to 3-1.
Saqlain sent a perfect scoop to Shabbir Khan, who relayed the ball to Tariq Aziz and the forward made no mistake in dispatching it into the Indian goal, giving Chetri no chance.
In the 53rd minute, Pakistan had a great chance to increase the lead when they were awarded a stroke, awarded when Chetri brought down Abbasi inside the circle.
Saqlain, however, scooped the ball over the bar.
The Pakistanis were now charging through the middle as the Indians fell back. They earned their third-penalty corner in the 58th minute; a melee ensued and Tariq Aziz took advantage of another defensive lapse to slam home his second and team's fourth goal.
The Pakistanis did not give up even after building up a 4-1 lead and their aggressive tactics had the Indian defence in all sorts of trouble.
Overall, it was a very poor show by the Indians and that left even the Pakistanis surprised.
"We are thrilled at this win," Pakistan coach Asif Bajwa later said.
"We played to a plan. We had studied the Indians in the recent six-match series. We knew their weakness."
Bajwa, however, admitted that penalty-corner conversions remains his team's problem area.
Indian coach Rajinder Singh was not available for comments.