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India beat Pakistan for AAG men's hockey gold
October 31, 2003 19:50 IST
Last Updated: October 31, 2003 21:08 IST
India survived a torrid second-half onslaught to beat Pakistan 3-1 and win the men's hockey gold medal at the Afro- Asian Games in Hyderabad on Friday.
After Arjun Halappa and Len Aiyappa scored in the first session to enable the hosts go into the breather 2-1 up, Gagan Ajit Singh capitalized on a defensive lapse in the 61st minute, much against the run of play, to put the issue beyond doubt.
Ghazzanfar Ali accounted for Pakistan's goal.
This was the fourth meeting between the Asian giants in the last two months. At last month's Asia Cup, Pakistan defeated India 4-2 in the league match, but India thrashed Pakistan 4-2 in the final to win the tournament for the first time. India had also beaten Pakistan 4-2 in the league match at the Afro-Asian Games.
The teams met twice in the Hockey Australia Men's Challenge in May-June. In the first leg at Perth, India beat Pakistan 2-0 while in second at Sydney, the match ended in a 4-4 draw.
At the Champions Trophy in August, in the league match, India defeated Pakistan 7-4, but lost in the bronze medal play-off match 3-4.
In a fast-paced encounter, it was India who forged ahead in the ninth minute through a penalty-stroke by Arjun Halappa. The stroke was awarded after Deepak Thakur was fouled as he was poised to score from a cross from Halappa on the left.
Halappa had split the Pakistan defence as early as the fourth minute, when he sent down a long through from the Indian 16-yard line for Gagan Ajit, who, however, hit wide from close.
But Pakistan replied within eight minutes after sustained aggression on the Indian defence. Following their second penalty-corner, Ghazanfar Ali flicked past goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan.
Both teams had an equal share of possession thereafter but it was the Indians who looked more threatening.
Four minutes into stoppage time, India forced their third penalty-corner. India skipper Dilip Tirkey did well to deceive the onrushing Pakistan defenders as he squared the ball to an unmarked Len Aiyappa, who flicked hard and true to put India ahead for the second time in the match.
The second session saw the Pakistanis in full cry. They were all over the Indian defence and even forced nine penalty-corners, but hard as they tried they just failed to get the ball into the Indian goal.
India were unable to string together a single good move and lucky to emerge unscathed. In fact, their forwards just managed to break through the Pakistan defence once and scored from that foray.
From a 16-yard hit, Dilip Tirkey used the aerial route to transfer the ball into the Pakistan half. Gagan Ajit pounced on a poor clearance by a defender, raced into the circle and slammed from the top in the 61st minute.
For the remainder of the match it was Pakistan all the way but a couple of good saves by goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan and crowding out tactics enabled India to hold on for victory.
Korea beat Malaysia for bronze medal
Korea overcame an early blow to beat Malaysia 2-1 for the bronze medal.
Korea, who dominated for most part of the match, were forced on to the back foot when Malaysian forward Rasoli Muhammad scored a goal in the 42nd minute. But the Asian Games champions bounced back to score two goals in the space of seven minutes through Hyo Sik Yoo (45th) and Kyung Seok Kim (52nd).
Earlier, South Africa rallied superbly to beat Egypt through Gareth Carr's golden goal and take the fifth place.
Trailing 0-2 till the 60th minute, South Africa pumped in two goals in nine minutes to take the match into extra-time and Carr scored the golden goal converting a penalty-corner in the 78th minute.
In the classification match for the last two places, Nigeria got themselves into trouble before prevailing over Ghana 3-2 in a keenly-contested battle. The win helped Nigeria finish seventh in the competition.
Samson Ayebawapeime turned saviour for Nigeria, scoring the winner in the 57th minute after Ghana bounced back from 0-2 down to neutralise the lead in the 39th minute.