India tear Poles apart
India came up with an improved display to beat Poland 4-1 and register their second successive victory in Pool B in the men's hockey World Cup, at the National stadium, in Kuala Lumpur, on Monday.
The victory gave the Indians their seventh point and also enabled them avenge the 1-2 defeat they suffered in the World Cup qualifier in Edinburgh, Scotland, and the 1-1 draw which cost them a semi-final berth in the Sydney Olympics.
In other matches of the day, Japan shocked England 2-1 to also post their second victory while Malaysia came from behind to beat Cuba 4-2 and register their fourth victory from six matches.
In the last match of the day, Australia proved too good for Korea, winning 4-2.
Scot Webster and Troy Elder gave Australia a 2-0 lead by the 15th minute before Seong Tae Song could pull one back for Korea in the 27th minute. But Jeremy Hiskins scored two quick goals in the 40th and 42nd minutes to take the match away from the Koreans. Nine minutes from the end, Jung Seon Lee reduced themargin further for the Koreans.
India turned in a much better performance today. There was good coordination and from the outset they attacked. An early goal, in the third minute, by Daljit Singh Dhillon saw them hold the whiphand right through the first session of play. With Dhanraj Pillay looking dangerous in the centre-forward possession, the Polish defence was always under pressure.
In the 15th minute India made it 2-0 from a penalty-stroke after Baljit Singh Saini's stick was hooked while advancing towards goal from a Baljit Dhillon pass. The resultant stroke was taken by Dhillon, who made no mistake, sending the goalkeeper the wrong side.
However, Poland pulled one back from a swift counter attack in the 22nd minute. Tomasz Choczaj did extremely well to intercept a cross from the left and despatch past goalkeeper Devesh Chanuhan.
With the Poles having reduced the margin, a strong fightback was expected. But India made it 3-1 a couple of minutes later through Prabhjot Singh, who scored after receiving a pass from Deepak Thakur following a free-hit from Saini on the right of the circle.
For the remainder of the half, the Indians held possession and crossed over 3-1 up.
The second session was a bit scrappy. India had a chance to go further ahead immediately on resumption but Dhanraj Pillay was fouled as he advanced into the circle. Off the resultant penalty-corner Tirkey's shot was padded by the Polish keeper.
However, Pillay did score in the 40th minute. He beat two defenders and placed the ball between the posts with a neat reverse flick.
Thereafter India slowed down the pace, and used the long ball to splinter through. Poland tried hard but all they could come up with was two penalty-corner which proved abortive.
India plays Australia in their concluding Pool B engagement on Tuesday.
Mail Sports Editor