Thursday, September 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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CHAMPIONS TROPHY
India beat Pak 3-2 in hockey

Cologne, September 4
Playing their best hockey in the tournament so far, India pipped Pakistan 3-2 in a thrilling league match of the Champions Trophy Hockey Tournament here today.

After a draw, loss and two successive wins in the six-team tournament, India now have seven points from four matches to climb to the joint second position with the Netherlands behind Germany. India next play Korea in their last league encounter on Friday.

In a fast-paced and evenly-balanced encounter that witnessed brilliant stickwork and classical skills, India found the target through Prabhjot Singh (21st minute) and captain Dilip Tirkey (34th) in the first half while Gagan Ajit Singh scored the third in the 56th minute. Gazanfar Ali (23rd) and Sohail Abbas (56th) scored for Pakistan.

Both the teams came on strongly after the break earning two penalty corners each. For India, the hero was Devesh Chauhan as he twice used the gloves to good effect against Sohail Abbas, deflecting the ball away.

Indiaís fourth and fifth penalty corners were wasted by Jugraj Singh and Dilip Tirkey.

It was again Dhanraj Pillay who was instrumental in India earning another goal. The beautiful move was started on the left flank by Daljit Singh who passed it on to Pillay in the centre. Pillay quickly deflected it to Gagan Ajit who circled around to dodge the advancing Pakistani goalkeeper before releasing the ball from an acute angle.

Trailing 1-3, Pakistan got desperate and increased the pressure on the Indian defence. They earned their fifth penalty corner in the 55th minute and Sohail Abbas finally got it right this time. His powerful drag flick beat the diving Devesh Chauhan and Pakistan were able to narrow the margin.

Two minutes later, Pakistan came close to scoring again with their sixth penalty corner but this time Chauhan got his gloves in the way and deflected the ball off the right post.

With seven minutes left, India made the move of the match when Deepak Thakur picked up the ball from the midfield and moved up, gave it to Pillay who smartly flicked in between the legs for Thakur to pick it up again and take a shot but the ball rebounded off Alamís pads and faced with an open goal, Gagan Ajit Singh shot over the bar.

As the minutes ticked away, a nervous Pakistan side made desperate attempts at the Indian goal but the Indian defence stood firm.

With the final seconds being counted by a battery of Indian fans waving the Tri-colour, the hooter went off bringing to an end what was certainly a very high quality of hockey.

Germany beat Korea

World champions Germany continued their winning streak when they narrowly edged out Korea 2-1 in their third match in light rain conditions at the 24th Champions Trophy Hockey Tournament here today. The two fittest sides of the tournament played a fast-paced match at Rot Weiss Koln Stadium in the first encounter of the day. The Germans had a dream start when a great ball by Kunz was finished in style by Bjorn Michel in the third minute of the game.

The Germans maintained their early ascendancy over the Koreans but they had to work at full pace to keep the Koreans at bay. The Koreans slowly got themselves back into the game and a move down the left flank saw Keon Kan being fouled by the German defence and the Koreans were awarded a penalty stoke. Jeon JH made no mistake from the spot to put the Koreans back on equal terms. The Koreans continued to exert pressure on the German defence and clearly looked the better side in the second quarter of the first half. Even though the Germans earned two penalty corners, it were the Koreans who looked like taking the lead but the score remained 1-1 at the half time.

The Germans came back in the second half with renewed vigour but the Koreans matched them in all departments. Even as it was looking to be an evenly matched game, the Germans came up with a finely executed penalty corner conversion in the 57th minute to take the lead.

The gangling skipper Kunz deceptively left the ball for Timo Wess whose shot sped into the top right hand corner of the net. The Koreans now paced up the match and looked like scoring twice but the German goalkeeper Arnold was at his best thwarting the Korean forwards each time. UNI

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